By Russell Berman and Alexander Bolton - 02/17/11 11:07 PM EST
The Republican chairman of the House Administration Committee is trying to defeat an amendment by conservative Republicans that would slash an additional $20 billion from the government funding bill.
Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) sent a “Dear Colleague” e-mail to members urging them to vote down an amendment sponsored by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee. Lundgren is himself a member of that group, which comprises two-thirds of the GOP conference.
“If adopted, this amendment would severely restrict the U.S. Capitol Police’s ability to secure the Capitol complex by slashing its budget 11%,” Lungren wrote. “A cut of this magnitude would force Capitol Police to face today’s ever-growing security threats with significantly fewer resources and officers.”
He said the measure would “also impede on each member’s ability to communicate and serve his or her constituents.”
Jordan responded in a statement: “Federal spending has been out of control, leading to record deficits and a massive debt that our children and grandchildren must repay. Our amendment aims to help get federal spending under control, and I believe that when federal spending is reduced, Congress itself must tighten its belt.”
The active campaign against the amendment illustrates the brewing divide over spending in the Republican conference. Led by Jordan and others, conservatives have pushed for deeper cuts in line with the party’s “Pledge to America” in the 2010 midterm campaign. The current spending bill would cut $61 billion from current spending. The Jordan amendment is expected to be voted on later Thursday evening.
Jordan said Wednesday he did not know whether it would pass but that it had strong support in the conference.