In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Republicans Press Boehner Not To Get Squeamish On Spending Cuts

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Boehner's office hasn't yet received and isn't commenting on the letter, but says that the final spending levels will be worked out in the legislative process.

Members want leadership to force the issue, though. When the current "continuing resolution" expires, they say, Republicans should adopt a new version that slashes at least $100 billion all at once.

"With this historic opportunity to cut spending and grow our economy, it is critical that our Conference, at a minimum, meet the original $100 billion savings goal through the CR," the letter reads.

RSC chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) elaborated on this at a press conference on Thursday afternoon. "We also grab unspent stimulus dollars and take it to $125 billion for this fiscal year," he said. "We think it's important we hit that number, $100 billion."

The RSC today unveiled a $2.5 trillion spending cut proposal, compatible with this budgetary goal of $100 billion in savings for this fiscal year. They propose hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to major programs, but achieve most of the savings in the plan by capping spending at 2006 levels and holding spending at that level, regardless of inflation, for the rest of the decade. That's significantly lower than the 2008 levels Ryan has promised -- but future Congresses would not be bound by the cap, and would likely blow through it, if history is any guide.

Ultimately, these decisions about the budget and potential spending cuts will be made at higher levels than Jordan and the RSC -- by leadership, by Ryan, and by Appropriations Committee Chair Hal Rogers. But the rank and file are doing their best to make sure they don't get rolled.

At a Rules Committee hearing Wednesday, Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) sought, and achieved, a symbolic change to a GOP resolution pledging to bring down spending. The subtitle originally described it as a resolution "[t]o reduce spending through a transition to non-security spending at fiscal year 2008 levels."

Scott's amendment changed that language: "Reducing non-security spending" to 2008 levels. It doesn't accomplish any actual spending goals. But it's a signal to leadership that they're going to eliminate any amount of wiggle room where they see it.