ABC News’ John R. Parkinson reports:
Since H.R. 1 became publicly available last Friday, February 11, 583 Republican and Democratic amendments were filed and pre-printed in the Congressional Record for consideration.
Last night, debate on amendments stretched on until 1:12 A.M. Tonight the House is poised for another late night session.
Today Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., warned his colleagues that “consideration of the CR and related votes may stretch beyond the 3:00 p.m. goal of last votes for the end of the week on Thursday,” but expressed his intent to finish the bill by the end of the legislative session on Thursday – even if debate and votes stretch late into the night.
One key amendment that the House is voting on would eliminate the Joint Strike Fighter alternate engine program for the F-35 from the continuing resolution.
For over an hour last night on the House floor, lawmakers debated the amendment — which would save tax payers $450 million dollars over the next seven months.
Rep. Thomas Rooney, R-Fla., a two-term member who introduced the amendment to strike the F-35 engine, said his proposed cut would show voters that lawmakers are serious about cutting spending.
“It is dubious why Congress continues to fund a program that the Air Force, the Navy, the Marine Corps, and the Department of Defense adamantly state they do not want.” Rooney said. “The American people sent us here to change the way that Washington works. This amendment is a perfect opportunity to show your constituents that business as usual in Washington is over.”
Yesterday, Speaker of the House John Boehner said he believed the F-35 engine was good for competition and predicted it would actually save money in the long-run.
“I suspect there will be a healthy debate on that — that big question,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said. “As you all know, that I believe that over the next 10 years, this will save the government money. But let's have the policy debate out in the open on the House floor and let the House work its will.”
Among the other amendments that House lawmakers are trying to work into the GOP’s continuing resolution is an amendment introduced by the Chairman of the Republican Study Committee, Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) to cut about $20 billion more from the governments non-security discretionary spending.
The RSC says these cuts are critical to fulfilling the GOP’s Pledge to America – where they pledged to cut $100 billion and reset spending levels to 2008 pre-stimulus, pre-bailout days.
Jordan’s amendment, which is expected on the House floor later Wednesday or Thursday morning, would bring non-security discretionary spending down to the FY 2008 level, $378 billion. The amendment would also achieve the additional cuts by a 5.5 percent (instead of 5 percent) across-the board cut of all non-security discretionary spending and an 11 percent (instead of 10 percent) across-the-board cut for the Legislative Branch.
“The bill already makes great strides to reverse the Democrats’ spending spree and get Washington out of the way of economic growth,” said RSC spokesman Brian Straessle. “Our amendment would further those efforts by returning total non-security spending to 2008 levels.”
The current CR includes $19 billion in security cuts, and some conservative groups say the Pledge therefore falls short.
“Mr. Jordan’s amendment to cut an additional $20 billion in non-security spending gets Republicans to the point where they honor their Pledge to America, which promised to roll back non-security discretionary spending to 2008 levels and save American taxpayers $100 billion,” said Michael A. Needham, CEO, Heritage Action for America.