Budget Battles and Dying Hills

Yesterday there was a vote in the House on another short-term (3-week) Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the federal government. Much has been written about Republican Freshman and hills to die on. One thing upon which we all agree is that spending has gotten completely out of control, and something must be done about it.

Colorado’s fourth congressional district has a new Republican representative after two years of Blue Dog Betsy Markey. So far, Cory Gardner has been a breath of fresh air with his voting record. I contacted a staff member to see if I could determine how he would vote on the 3-week CR. I was told that he would put something out later in the day. When it finally came out, I saw that he had decided to vote in favor of the bill. He gave his reasoning in his message,

Like many of my colleagues in Congress I am frustrated that we have not been able to make more progress on spending cuts in a CR for the full year, but in my mind, a vote in favor of this CR is a vote for spending cuts of a magnitude many in this House have never seen. I could not vote against cutting wasteful government spending. It’s as simple—and as important—as that. I cannot pass up the opportunity to support good reforms that will work to better our country and cut spending.

Gardner gave a longer explanation to the Greeley Gazette. Now I know that much has been made about how insignificant the cuts were in the CR. I get that. I want to see Obamacare and Planned Parenthood (PP) defunded as much as the next guy. But a cut’s a cut. That’s a different direction we’ve been going for a long time, even if it is for only three weeks. It’s six billion dollars I don’t have to pay, and six billion dollars my children and grandchildren don’t have to pay.

Four months ago I was elected to Congress as part of a statement by the American people that they were tired of the way Washington operated. The people indicated that they wanted a change in the way that business was conducted. They gave us a message: stop the reckless spending, stop Washington from mortgaging our children’s and grandchildren’s futures, stop kicking the can down the road and make the tough decisions that need to be made.

Since the vote, there has also been some infighting going on, some infighting going on with one group attacking the other. As far as I can tell, not all congressional Republicans that voted for the CR are going this route. There are some, like Gardner and Mike Coffman voted for it simply because it cut spending. I’m not so naive to think that there aren’t some personal attacks going on within the party in Washington. But let’s not paint all of those that voted for the CR with the same brush.

Now, I’m also not so naive that I don’t worry that the House will eventually cave in and give up on long-term spending cuts. We’ve all seen it happen before, and the longer this thing drags out, the more opportunities exist for that to happen. Sooner or later Obamacare and PP funding will have to be addressed, as well as a large number of other government programs that have no reason to exist. But I also understand that Republicans only have control over one half of Congress, so options are limited.

Will a government shutdown be necessary in the future? That hill to die on is still out there. Will Cory Gardner stand up with us at that time, when there are no other options? I have no reason to believe he won’t. This budget war is, like any other war, is full of individual battles. So far, we’ve won the small battles. So long as we don’t quit before it’s over, we will continue to win.

The first time I heard Cory Gardner speak I was impressed with how much time he took to talk about his family. It was clear to me that he’s a family man first. That he cared so much about his own family led me to believe that he’d also care about mine. So far he’s done nothing to show me I was wrong with that assessment. He’s been a consistent vote for cutting spending since he arrived.

As the 4th District of Colorado’s Representative, I will continue to rein in the overbearing hand of the federal government, and I will cut wasteful spending as I was sent here to do. I will be relentless in fulfilling these promises. The time has come to craft a government that exists to serve its people, and not to burden them with a crushing debt that prevents their progress and harms their prosperity.

In the end, an opportunity presented itself to cut spending, however little that might be. The people of the fourth congressional district of Colorado voted to send someone to Washington to reign in out-of-control spending. Cory Gardner stood up and voted for that cut. I stand with him.

Night Twister