- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 9, 2006

House conservatives yesterday accused their own party of betraying voters by not keeping promises made more than a decade ago to limit the size of the federal government and cut spending.

“The time for serious change was 10 years ago and Congress has failed to act,” said Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, Georgia Republican. “Congress has failed to change, Congress has failed to make tough choices, Congress has failed to lead. In short, Congress has failed the America people.”

Since Republicans took over both houses of Congress, spending has increased nearly 50 percent, conservatives said, and the deficit is projected to reach more than $400 billion. Mr. Westmoreland called the situation “a crime against future generations of American taxpayers.”

The Republican Study Committee (RSC), the conservative House caucus, introduced a proposal yesterday that aims to balance the budget in five years. It recommends nearly $1 trillion less spending in the next five years than the unbalanced proposal submitted earlier this year by President Bush.

RSC Chairman Mike Pence, Indiana Republican, announced the proposal with a dozen of his conservative colleagues. Behind them stood supporters holding signs with slogans such as “Pork: It used to be for dinner!”

Rep. John Shadegg, the Arizona Republican who ran for majority leader last month on the most conservative platform, chided the Republican Party.

“Virtually every Republican member of this Congress was elected — whether they ran in 1994 or 2004 — on a promise to cut wasteful spending and slow the growth of the federal government,” he said. “It’s time to keep that promise.”

Majority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, would not endorse the proposal but applauded it for taking “the interests of our children and grandchildren into account.”

“The RSC budget is a serious effort to address a serious problem: the runaway cost of government that threatens our children’s future,” Mr. Boehner said. “This serious problem can only be solved by making tough choices.”

Rep. Tom Feeney, Florida Republican, warned that “adult” supervision was needed and that the answer to the spending problems does not lie with Democrats in Congress.

“The Democratic Party can never be an adult party; they buy votes to get elected and it’s the only way they get elected,” he said. “If Republicans won’t be an adult party, America won’t have one.”

For Mr. Westmoreland, the choices are tough but the answer is simple.

“We can raise the price of the buffet or we can curb our appetites,” he said. “With our waistlines bulging, the choice is clear: We must go on a spending diet until our pants fit again.”

He noted the historic moment in 1994 when Republican gained power for the first time in 40 years by promising to change the way business is conducted in Washington.

“It’s a sad commentary that today we need another revolution to implement a simple, time-honored concept to live within your means.”

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