Congressman Thomas Massie Breaks from GOP, Votes Against Ryan Budget Plan

Kentucky Fourth District Congressman Thomas Massie bucked his Republican Party leaders and voted against the GOP-basked 2014 budget because it isn’t conservative enough.

The GOP-controlled House narrowly approved the spending plan authored by Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin by a 221-207 vote on Thursday.

Conservative supporters had highlighted the cuts to corporate tax rates and slashing $6.4 trillion from the deficit over the next decade as reasons to support the idea.

However, Ryan’s plan still raises federal spending by 3.4 percent annually. GOP leaders had said that would be offset by economic growth.

But for the Tea Party-backed Massie that amount was too much. He told WFPL in a telephone interview he came to Washington reduce spending—not increase it—adding Ryan’s proposal is nearly twice the rate of inflation.

“The Democrat plan increases government spending by 5 percent per year, that’s ridiculous. That’s like three times the rate of inflation,” he says. “The Ryan budget is better because it only increases government by 3.4 percent per year, but that’s still twice the rate of inflation. And when I campaigned, I campaigned saying that we needed to cut spending in Washington, D.C.”

No Democrats voted for the plan and liberals had attacked the Ryan budget as “cruel” for making deep cuts to domestic programs for the poor without touching defense spending.

The plan has no new revenue and seeks to fully repeal President Obama’s health care law. It also would overhaul Medicare for retirees, which opponents say is an attempt to privatize entitlement programs.

“Republicans just voted for a budget that would destroy 2 million jobs, cost middle-class families with children an extra $3,000 in taxes every year, end the Medicare guarantee and increase costs for seniors by thousands per year, and double student loan interest rates,” Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth of Kentucky told WFPL. “I’m proud to have voted for a responsible alternative plan to create jobs, strengthen the middle class, and responsibly reduce the deficit.”

Previously, Massie had voiced support for the Ryan plan because it was more “aggressive” than previous proposals introduced by the former vice presidential nominee.

Earlier this month, Massie told the radio station the Ryan budget was a better option than the blueprint in the Democratic-controlled Senate. That spending plan calls for $1 trillion in cuts to be matched by revenue gained through closing tax loopholes.

Massie says fellow Republican lawmakers need to stick to their campaign promises, adding Congress has to learn to spend responsibly.

“The American people are on to the baseline budgeting scheme that’s used in Washington, D.C. where they will call a cut in growth a cut in spending when in fact it’s not a cut at all. And that’s kind of the problem with the Paul Ryan plan. It doesn’t cut spending, it grows government,” he says.

The freshman Kentucky congressman joined 9 other GOP colleagues who found Ryan’s plan to be too moderate.

UPDATE:

During a roundtable discussion with other conservative Republicans, Massie indicated he would vote against the Ryan plan, saying it was more about “optics and messaging” than cutting spending.

“We know it’s dead on arrival,” Massie said, according to Talking Points Memo. “We know it’s a pretend vote.”

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