George Allen is clear on what he would have done and will do on the budgetPolitics

George Allen has been peppered with questions all weekend long by the media, and his GOP senate nomination opponent Jamie Radtke, to be clear about his position regarding the latest budget negotiations.

Katie Wright, Allen’s communications director, responded to Bearing Drift’s query by saying, “Like several other conservatives, in the end Gov. Allen would have reluctantly voted for this small step to reduce spending increases to avoid a government shutdown. One of the main factors in that decision was that he thought it was shameful that the Obama administration and Senate Democrats were willing to hold the paychecks of our military families hostage while getting paid their self.”

Of course, Jamie Radtke wasted little time tearing into this.

“Reluctant yes votes are the story of George Allen’s Senate career.

“He reluctantly voted yes to add $3 trillion to the debt, he reluctantly voted yes on the federal takeover of education called No Child Left Behind, he reluctantly voted yes to increase the debt ceiling four times, he reluctantly went along with the rest of the DC Establishment as the federal debt went up $16,000 every SECOND he was in office. We need a new generation of conservative and courageous leadership in Virginia, not “reluctant yes” votes that are bad for Virginia.”

I’m not surprised that Radtke has taken this tack.

Her effort right now is to portray herself from now until the nomination as the “anti-Allen.” After five months of gaining little in the polls and little traction fundraising, it’s easy to see why she has decided to go after the front-runner.

But does she have a point?

As I mentioned in my previous post, it was easy to see that Governor Allen was in no way happy with this budget. After months of debate, it’s amazing that the GOP can go from proposing $100 billion in cuts to what some are calling only $15 billion in cuts.

Who in their right mind would be happy with the outcome? To me, it hardly seems like an effective negotiation.

And Allen thinks that too.

“After six months of debate Gov. Allen thinks it is incredible that more savings could not be found by cutting things like duplicative government programs or even eliminating the budget to hire more IRS agents to name a few,” wrote Wright.

Also According to the Allen campaign:

“Governor Allen believes that we need a real check on Senator Harry Reid and President Obama’s spending. Not another blank check. Like many Americans he is dissatisfied and disgusted by the broken and dysfunctional way Washington operates and believes there needs to be urgent action to fix our fiscal crisis.”

So where does that leave us as conservatives?

I think most sane people know and understand that what happened this weekend, and continues to be debated, is only a small first step in a long process of changing how Washington works.

The next big test will be on the debt ceiling, and on that subject, Allen is perfectly clear:

“Before there is any vote to increase the debt ceiling, Democrats must allow the Senate to vote on a Balanced Budget Amendment and make immediate and meaningful cuts in wasteful spending. I don’t know anyone outside of Washington who thinks the out-of-control, unaccountable federal government is operating at 100% efficiency. More than ever, restraint and a healthy dose of discipline is needed to control how Washington spends taxpayer money.”

Hopefully these preliminary skirmishes keep candidates on task – and aware of the real opponents: those who would not even be talking about debt reduction and spending cuts if it weren’t for fiscal hawks.

  • valentinus

    Allen says “Before there is any vote to increase the debt ceiling, Democrats must allow the Senate to vote on a Balanced Budget Amendment and make immediate and meaningful cuts in wasteful spending.”

    And if they say no he would vote against raising the debt limit even if his vote was the deciding vote to shut the govt?

    I’m not singling out Allen because the problem goes deeper. If you don’t lay the groundwork for controversial actions it’s too late to explain them when the smoke is billowing. Dems prepare the public with indoctrination by the schools and the media. They are ready for the buzzwords that Schumer has been given by the DNC.

    The Repubs actually for the first time I can remember did come up with a Plan B this time, namely a CR to pay the troops and cut 12B. However they were too scared to use it. They were too scared to take out ads and go on TV and say that Dems were shutting down the govt rather than pass a CR and pay the troops because the Dems wanted to use the troops as hostages.

    I think it is clear that Congressional Repubs are not going to stop anything significant. Conservatives will have to rely on the states to undermine the leftist agenda at least until 2013.

  • ToR

    Consensus no compromise; that is what we need.

  • Jay D

    Abysmal. From AP/CBS:
    “… Many of the cuts appear to have been cuts in name only, because they came from programs that had unspent funds. For example,
    - $1.7 billion left over from the 2010 census;
    - $3.5 billion in unused children’s health insurance funds;
    - $2.2 billion in subsidies for health insurance co-ops (that’s something the president’s new health care law is going to fund anyway); and
    - $2.5 billion from highway programs that can’t be spent because of restrictions set by other legislation. About
    - $10 billion of the cuts comes from targeting appropriations accounts previously used by lawmakers for so-called earmarks – pet projects like highways, water projects, community development grants and new equipment for police and fire departments. Republicans had already engineered a ban on earmarks when taking back the House this year. Republicans also claimed
    - $5 billion in savings by capping payments from a fund awarding compensation to crime victims. Under an arcane bookkeeping rule — used for years by appropriators — placing a cap on spending from the Justice Department crime victims fund allows lawmakers to claim the entire contents of the fund as “budget savings.” The savings are awarded year after year. …”

    [http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/04/12/earlyshow/main20053039.shtml]

    Run a quick total … approx, $25 billion (of the $38 billion in “cuts”) were either unused/can’t use funds or accounting gimmicks. And total federal spending actually increases in FY2011 relative to FY2010 ~ appallingly bad negotiating performance by Speaker Boehner and GOP leadership.

  • http://www.shaunkenney.com Shaun Kenney

    Well stated, Jim. The big test is coming… people need to realize this before condemning the Speaker on what could very well have turned into a very, very bad setup leading into the next budget fight.

    …and it damn well better be TRILLIONS in cuts.

  • http://bvbl.net Greg L

    I don’t know. I would have voted for something I don’t like isn’t substantially different than “I voted for the 87 billion before I voted against it.” I’m looking for someone to stand up to the garbage coming out of DC lately and the caving in by the House on imposing some fiscal sanity here. Not someone who reluctantly rubber-stamps another bad compromise.

    I’m not sure George is the guy.

  • valentinus

    SK “The big test is coming… people need to realize this before condemning the Speaker on what could very well have turned into a very, very bad setup leading into the next budget fight.…and it damn well better be TRILLIONS in cuts.”

    If the 32B in cuts were just smoke and mirrors why couldn’t they humor us with 100B in “cuts”?
    Are the trillions going to be smoke and mirrors too?

  • http://www.advrider.com James “turbo” Cohen

    That’s right Shaun, it better be trillions.. just like Jamie Radtke has been saying for as long as I have known her name.. George by his own admission would have accepted the abominably rancid budget compromise that even Scott Rigell had the balls to vote no on (credit where due, thank you Scott).

  • Steve Vaughan

    So Allen has been re-born as a deficit hawk? That certainly wasn’t his position during his first run in the Senate.

  • J.Nowlin

    I have always believed that it was a bit unfair to attack Senator Allen on some of his past votes because it was years ago in a different political climate, but his admission that he would have voted for the most recent CR is extremely disappointing.

  • http://www.advrider.com James “turbo” Cohen

    J Nowlin, That is clear and pure BS. from 200-2006 there was so much financial abuse and detestable activity even McCain called it out.. Allen FAILED miserably in so many ways. Anyone looking at sobering numbers knew there was a world of pain coming for the reckless spending Allen willingly participated in.
    http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2008/09/update-fannie-mae-and-freddie.html

  • Joe Nowlin

    Turbo, Allen wasn’t on the list you linked to so I am not sure what your point is. What I am saying is that there are many congressman who made the same votes that Allen did and they have had the last 6 years to move to the right, due to his losing the ’06 election, Allen’s record is frozen in time. His claim that he has changed and now understands that we must stop spending beyond our means rings hollow based on his support of the Boehner CR deal.

  • http://Tidewaterliberty.com Britt Howard

    Joe, it would have been better if perhaps Turbo linked to this on the Freddie/Fannie thing:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27266607/ns/business-us_business/?fb_ref=story_header&fb_source=profile_multiline

    It is a long article. You will have to scroll down and click the fold to reveal more text to the article. After that George Allen appears multiple times. Basically, he had the warning of Hagel and 25 GOP Senators that wrote a letter to then Majority leader Frist asking him to put up a bill to regulate Freddie & Fannie. Below are some quotes from that article:
    “WASHINGTON — Freddie Mac secretly paid a Republican consulting firm $2 million to kill legislation that would have regulated and trimmed the mortgage finance giant and its sister company, Fannie Mae, three years before the government took control to prevent their collapse. ”

    “In the cross hairs of the campaign carried out by DCI of Washington were Republican senators and a regulatory overhaul bill sponsored by Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb. DCI’s chief executive is Doug Goodyear, whom John McCain’s campaign later hired to manage the GOP convention in September.”

    “In the midst of DCI’s yearlong effort, Hagel and 25 other Republican senators pleaded unsuccessfully with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., to allow a vote.”

    “Nine of the 17 targeted Republican senators did not sign Hagel’s letter: Sens. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Christopher “Kit” Bond and Jim Talent of Missouri, Conrad Burns of Montana, Mike DeWine of Ohio, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Olympia Snowe of Maine, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and George Allen of Virginia. Aside from the nine, 20 other Republican senators did not sign Hagel’s letter.” (emphasis added by me)

    “In a sign of bad things to come, Freddie Mac was already having serious problems in 2005. Auditors had exposed massive accounting issues, so improved regulation was one obvious remedy.”

    “”On day one” of the effort, Sen. George Allen of Virginia had not addressed Hagel’s bill and his legislative aide for housing was not assigned to it, the report said.”

    “”Today,” the report added, “the senator is aware of the issue and … at the moment he is undecided.” Allen’s deputy chief of staff “has said that the senator will take into consideration before he decides that Freddie Mac is located in Virginia and is one of the largest Virginia employers.”"

    “”Grasstops/opinion leaders James Todd, president, the Peterson Companies wrote to both senators,” the report added. “Milt Peterson, the founder and CEO of the company is one of Allen’s major donors.”"

    “In the end, Allen, who lost his bid for re-election in 2006, did not sign Hagel’s letter.”

    Back to me: Basically two things Joe. There are several ways to encourage a legislator. That means more things to track and cross connecting contributors to find. You also have relationships with other people that are benefitting to consider. The article here refers you to Milt Peterson, as the money guy being one of George Allen’s major contributors.

  • J.Nowlin

    Britt,
    I have never made any claims that the George Allen of 2001-2007 voted correctly every time. My point is that given the changing climate on fiscal issues;
    1.) Allen was not alone; you mention that on this one issue 0f Hagel’s letter, 28 Republicans did not sign it.
    2.)Many of those 28 were re-elected and have moved more than a little to the right on these issues since 2008.
    3.) Allen, out of office, did not have an opportunity show he too, was moving to the right through recorded votes so he has been talking the talk.
    4.) By publicly supporting the Boehner CR deal, it is clear that George Allen has not changed, he has claimed that he is a fiscal conservative but his declaration of support for this CR is evidence of the opposite.

  • http://tidewaterliberty.com Britt Howard

    Joe, I understand. My post was mostly aimed at backing up what Turbo was saying and to demonstrate that George Allen indeed played a part in allowing Freddie & Fannie to eventually implode.

    Due to the severity of our current situation and apparently too few consequences for doing these things, I am less charitable and point to the 25 GOP Senators that did sign.

    Don’t get me wrong, I believe in redemption. I am not sure I would embrace all the guys you have, I don’t know. Once you go off the reservation, you have to more than talk to have me re-assess. True, George Allen was fired by Virginians and hasn’t had a recent record with which to display that he is on the right page. That is his burden to deal with. He earned that.

    I agree that the preferable stance was to vote against the compromise, but that is one of the things I don’t hold over George Allen. He wasn’t in the Senate and there could be reasons why someone might think it better to try to make better progress later. I also don’t know if he was aware of how much really wasn’t cut. There, I am willing to give benefit of the doubt. That said, anyone voting for the “compromise” that isn’t seen getting the job done soon, will face the wrath of true fiscal conservatives.

    I know you never claimed he was perfect. Like I said, that post was more aimed at backing up Turbo on the point he made about Freddie & Fannie.

  • J.Nowlin

    Britt, If as you say he (George Allen)wasn’t aware of how much really wasn’t cut, he should not have made a declaration of support. One of the major criticisms of the establishment type candidates is that they will vote as leadership directs them to vote, that is why we have 87 new congressmen in the house, it is why we elected Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and others. We want conservative representation which will make decisions and votes that will reverse our current course to fiscal disaster and will preserve liberty and restore our Republic.

  • http://tidewaterliberty.com Britt Howard

    Good points, Mr. Nowlin.

  • Jay D

    Britt, thanks for the great link; here is the letter text asking Frist to bring S-109 to the floor for discussion and vote. Clearly, George Allen (and others) put big donors and corporate concerns over the nation’s fiscal health. I might be way off, but this little ditty is waiting to bite GA, likely during the primary. Voters are still hurting, ticked, and happy to blame Wall Street AND the political elite for the housing debacle.

    http://sweetness-light.com/archive/behold-mccains-warning-about-fannie-mae

    And while congress parades more Goldman Sachs in well orchestrated, showboat D.C. hearings – legislators get a pass. If just one of these guys/gals went to a REAL jail for treason, corruption, influence peddling, or criminal negligence we just might be able to clean up the system a bit.

  • http://www.advrider.com James “turbo” Cohen