Placer Republicans leery of Washington budget moves

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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On the short end of monumental budget votes in the House, U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Roseville, is warning that the Budget Control Act flirts with a credit downgrade and greatly exaggerates savings. Shepherded through Congress by House GOP House Speaker John Boehner, the act received a ‘no’ vote from McClintock. But last week’s vote was 218-210 in favor in the House. McClintock was one of 22 Republicans to vote against it. “The act increases the debt limit between $2.1 and $2.4 trillion, the biggest explosion of debt in American history,” McClintock said. “It allows the government to avoid spending reductions for the next two years while squandering our last best hope of averting a sovereign debt crisis.” While McClintock was sounding warning bells, some Republicans in Placer County expressed disenchantment with the political machinations played out over the past several weeks between Democratic and Republican politicos in Washington. “It was really a mess,” said Republican Ron Harmon of Loomis. “It’s easy to blame either side but I don’t think they settled in favor of the country. They just settled in favor of themselves.” Stanley Brown, a Republican from Newcastle, said he feels that sometimes the elected officials in California and on the federal level just don’t care. “I don’t like what any of those guys are doing,” Brown said. “No matter what party, they’ve all been connected to decisions allowing banks to loan money to people who couldn’t pay for houses. They’ve hurt me and many others and we continue to have people in who could care less. They just want to spend, spend, spend.” The agreement hammered out in Washington does call for reduction in federal deficits by at least $2.1 trillion over the next decade, but McClintock said that is far below the $4 trillion deficit reduction that rating agencies have warned is necessary to preserve the U.S. government’s Triple-A credit rating. McClintock, a fiscal conservative, said he’s also concerned that the budget makes no spending reductions for at least the next two years, “essentially leaving spending at an unsustainable level.” “While the debt increase occurs this year, significant spending cuts aren’t to be made for many years and can be ignored or reversed in the future,” McClintock said. “The spending cuts are easily circumvented by declaring appropriations to be an emergency response to a ‘major disaster,’ or necessary for the ‘global war on terror.’” Republican Mike Holmes, an Auburn City Councilman, said that he was keeping his eye on the budget because of the inclusion in the President’s budget of funds that will keep the Auburn State Recreation Area operating. Part of the $2.6 million funding in the energy and water appropriations bill will go toward a contract with CalFire to provide fire protection in the canyon, he said. Holmes said that it was interesting to note that while McClintock voted ‘no’ on the Budget Control Act, Sacramento Democratic Rep. Doris Matsui also cast a ‘no’ vote. U.S. Rep. Dan Lungren , R-Gold River, and Rep. Wally Herger, R-Redding, voted in favor of the act. “In that way, you could say it was bipartisan,” Holmes said. But Holmes said the question remains whether McClintock was counting votes in order to make his current stand. “Because it overwhelmingly passed, you can take a principled position while counting noses,” Holmes said.