The deep cuts in federal spending House Republicans approved last month “would do damage” to U.S. border security, according to one senior senator. Another goes so far as to say the cuts in the GOP spending plan don’t actually “save any money.”
Angry Democrats sounding off against Speaker John Boehner and his team? Nope.
The senator complaining about cuts to border security? That would Sen. John Kyl of Arizona, the second-highest ranking Republican in the Senate. And the senator who argues the House cuts don’t actually save anything? Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley made that comment blasting the House bill for slashing ethanol subsidies.
It seems that Democrats aren’t alone in criticizing H.R. 1, the continuing resolution approved by the House. The bill would keep the government funded through September, but at a cost of $61 billion in reductions to a wide swath of federal programs.
President Obama and top Democrats have opposed that level of cuts from the beginning, saying that they are draconian and would hurt Americans and U.S. interests. A growing number of Republicans are also joining that chorus, too, according to a press round-up compiled by Senate Democrats of comments uttered by prominent Republicans against the House spending bill.
Obama and other top Democrats want to call Boehner and other congressional Republicans to the bargaining table to fashion a long-term compromise to keep the government open beyond the current deadline of March 18.
Boehner has called on the Senate simply to approve H.R. 1, but the deeply conservative Kyl says he is “pushing for changes” to the House-passed bill.
It’s not only Senate Republicans who are fired up over the prospect of the Boehner-led budget cuts becoming law.
A number of Boehner’s own members in the House also are displeased, including at least two members of the large GOP freshman class.
“We have to be very responsible about what we’re cutting out. If we go too far, there will be backlash…I see it with my constituents. They want us to cut back, but I think it’s possible to go too far,” Rep. Sean Duffy of Wisconsin told The Hill, the Washington newspaper.
Freshman GOP Rep. Michael Grimm of New York, a former FBI agent, goes further, having warned Boehner directly that the cuts approved by the House could put American lives at risk.
“It’s easy if you don’t live in New York City to think, ‘Oh yeah, you can cut a little,’” Grimm told Politico. “As a 9/11 first responder in Staten Island, I know we’re the No. 1 terror target in the United States. I firmly believe — and have most of my adult life, which is why I chose to do the Marine Corps and join the FBI — that the government’s No. 1 priority has to be to keep us safe.”
Scott Nance is the publisher of the news site The Washington Current, formerly known as On The Hill. He has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.