Editorial Note: Freshman Congressman John Adler (D-NJ) and three of his colleagues were rebuked yesterday by a unanimous vote in the House Democratic Caucus. Adler was joined by Reps. Gary Peters (D-MI), Jim Himes (D-CT) and Peter Welch (D-VT) and they were seeking to eliminate $1.4 billion in spending which had been placed on top of President Obama’s budget request.
When the proposed amendment came up at the Caucus, House Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-WI) had an emotional temper tantrum. One of the four co-sponsors, Jim Himes, is from Connecticut, but that did not stop his home state colleagues John Larson and Rosa DeLauro from denouncing his deficit reduction effort.
The Caucus then passed a resolution telling the four lawmakers to withdraw their amendment. Rep. Himes said “The whole point of putting specific cuts on the table was to start a discussion. And boy, did we ever start a discussion. Discussion is maybe a euphemism for some of the pressure we came under. And we’re going to continue this — assuming other appropriations bills come up.”
Congressman Adler agreed to withdraw the amendment this afternoon, and below are the comments he made on July 21st when he had more backbone. Adler won the seat of retiring Rep. Jim Saxton (R-NJ) in 2008 with 52% of the vote.
The Democratic Party spent $1.7 million on his behalf while Republicans gave only $84,000 to their nominee. Adler outspent his opponent by a 7 to 1 margin. He now faces a difficult re-election in a district that Gov. Chris Christie (R) won by a 17% landslide. Adler’s 2010 GOP opponent is former Philadelphia Eagles star Jon Runyan.
My effort to reduce the budget deficit has received a positive reaction from people back in my district, the middle-class families, the senior citizens and the small businesses. They have all had to tightened their own family and business budgets to try to get by in tough times.
I have been in Congress a very short time, 18 months. I haven’t seen Congress cut the budget significantly in my entire adult lifetime. Congress seems to want to spend money and not cut back on spending.
Frankly, we just can’t sustain these sort of spending levels in the future. I have not heard back yet from the leadership, but I am going to reach out to both Democrats and Republicans to try to end some of this insanity. I don’t think we can sustain it long-term.
Congresses, both Republican and Democrat Congresses, have made a mistake by not listening to the people they represent in terms of spending. In the past there have been tax cuts. That’s a very healthy thing, but there have not been spending cuts. We see these rising deficits. This entire decade, it has really been a debacle in terms of fiscal accountability.
We have got to stop this insanity now. I want to be one of those people of both parties that will stand up and start saying no to the spending and actually cut back on programs which no longer make sense, if they ever did. I am reading the writing on the wall.
I have heard from lots of people in over 100 town hall meetings I have had throughout my middle-class district. I have heard from people who are concerned about job creation. They believe it should be done through the private sector, not on the government side, and they are concerned about their kids and the future of their grandchildren.
I take this personally for my four sons, for my wife, for our family, and for all the families I represent in my district. Both parties finally have to come together, stop throwing bombs at each other, and start working together to cut the spending, to build up our private sector, and make our country stronger for the next generation.