Freshman Rep. Lankford: Need to Go Further in Cutting Spending

By Kristina

Feb 8, 2011 3:16pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: The new freshman class in the House has barely been in office a month, but members are already growing anxious to cut more federal spending – and faster – than they’ve sought to do to date.

On ABC’s “Top Line” today, Rep. James Lankford, R-Okla., told us that plans to trim federal spending have to be just the beginning of what the new Republican majority will cut. Those cuts, he said, must include the big entitlement programs, such as Social Security and Medicare.

“No. I don't think we are going as far as we need … to go,” Lankford told us. “But I also don't think this is the final statement on it. … And so now it's a matter of opening up the process and everybody bringing in their spending cuts.”

Lankford is seeking to take his own slice of spending out of the budget by introducing a bill today with Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., that would end unemployment benefits to people who made $1 million or more the previous year. His office said this would save the federal government roughly $18.6 million per year.

“This is part of that ‘stone soup.’ It's not a large bill. It's just one more piece, and we're doing a lot of these,” he said.

Lankford, who came to Congress after 15 years running a Christian camp, said he sees parallels between his old job and his current one.

“I've got to tell you that I've had more than one person tell me that if you can handle 51,000 teenagers, you can handle Congress. We have all the irresponsibility that you have with a group of teenagers,” he said.

Watch the full interview with Rep. James Lankford HERE.

We also checked in with ABC’s Jim Sciutto, live from Alexandria, Egypt, about the latest developments there – including what he called “fatigue” among some residents over the ongoing protests.

Watch that portion of “Top Line” HERE.

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