Congratulations, Mr. Speaker

When the budget debate began, the Democrat position was to freeze spending at current levels. The House Republican Appropriations Committee came forward with a “bold” proposal to cut $33 billion in real spending from the budget.

Speaker Boehner then listened to his members and sent the appropriators back to the drawing board with instructions to find more cuts.

After leading a virtually unprecedented debate and allowing dozens of spending-cut amendments on the floor to be voted upon, Boehner’s House passed a bill to fund the government for the rest of the year with $61 billion in real spending cuts.

Now, if the midnight deal between Reid and Boehner doesn’t break down in the difficult language writing process, almost $40 billion in real cuts will be made to the federal government’s discretionary budget over the next six months. That’s $80 billion in real cuts annually and a change in the operating budget baseline forever.

This shifting of the discretionary budget by more than his own appropriators first proposed is an amazing political feat for the new Speaker.

His style of keeping a relatively low profile with the media while doing the hard work of bringing both his fellow Republicans along while not blinking in the face of both the president and Senate majority leader blasting him in the media has tapped the brakes on our nation’s “Thelma and Louise”-like drive toward a fiscal cliff of no return.

Is everyone happy?

Of course not. But for those who are upset that Planned Parenthood was not automatically defunded, please remember that without Boehner, the Senate would NEVER VOTE ON THE DEFUNDING. Now they will have that vote, and both the financial excesses and the enormity of the number of abortions committed by Planned Parenthood using tax dollars will take center stage in the nation in a way that we haven’t seen in decades.

A bold move by Boehner, given that many of the “smart” people in the Republican Party are urging that social issues be shunted aside as we focus the messaging on the fiscal side. Boehner, instead, through the deal, is forcing one of the dividing-line issues in our nation to the forefront of the debate, and ensuring that it will be a top campaign issue in 2012.

Boehner is also ensuring that Republican presidential candidates like Mitch Daniels and Haley Barbour who have urged that the social issues be put in the closet in the hopes of uniting a coalition around the fiscal crisis won’t be able to do so.

With one budget deal, John Boehner has singlehandedly forced both a change in the federal government’s baseline budget and forced the morality of abortion back into the center stage of American politics.

Many aspire to be named Speaker, and some achieve it.

Of those who achieve it, only a few live up to all that the title implies — Speaker of the people’s house — representative of the people against those who are a little too comfortable with their power and place.

On April 8, 2011, John Boehner proved that he is more than up to the job and all it implies.

Congratulations, Mr. Speaker.


Rick Manning is the communications director of Americans for Limited Government and a former House Republican Conference staffer under JC Watts Jr. His opinions are his alone and don’t necessarily reflect those of his employer.