(Capitol Hill) CNSNews.com - He may still be the darling of cultural conservatives, but President Bush's budget decisions have prompted one of his allies in Congress to assert that conservatives have no business comparing Bush to one of the most popular conservative presidents ever - Ronald Reagan.
"Some of us came here (to Washington DC) to reduce the size of government after the model of Ronald Reagan or others who tried to cut out government programs that weren't necessary. Others came here to streamline government or to make it more efficient, or to reflect more traditional values," U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) told Cybercast News Service Wednesday.
"President Bush isn't here to cut the size of government, he's here to perhaps have government more reflect the values of the people," Rohrabacher explained, following a Capitol Hill news conference sponsored by the 110-member Republican Study Committee aimed at promoting federal spending cuts to offset the costs of Hurricane Katrina.
"But at times like this, when we have an emergency where so much money is needed, it is incumbent upon us to cut the spending that is not absolutely necessary, not just make it reflect this value or that value," Rohrabacher added. Congress has already authorized two hurricane relief bills totaling $62.3 billion and some experts estimate that Hurricane Katrina will eventually cost the federal government $200 billion.
Rohrabacher dismissed the Sept. 13 remarks of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), who argued that the federal budget was running at peak efficiency. "Yes, after 11 years of Republican majority, we've pared it down pretty good," DeLay said.
"I am not sure what Tom had in mind, but I know that anybody who can't see that there is still fat in the federal budget probably can't tell the difference between a pig and a race horse," Rohrabacher said.
U.S. Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) also warned about unrestrained federal spending.
"I think the mounting federal debt could someday challenge this country in a way that no military power has ever been successful in doing," Franks told Cybercast News Service.
"In 10-12 years, we are going to be facing kind of a perfect storm, when the baby boomers like [me] who have been a source of great revenue for the country, begin to retire," Franks said.
"Rather than putting into the system, [baby boomers will] begin to take out of it and when the trajectory of some of these social programs that we have are on par now to crowd out all discretionary spending, we are in a situation where just the debt itself could take a third or more of the revenues in 10-12 years," Franks explained.
"That is something we can't sustain," he continued. "Any time a country has done that for any extended period of time, they have gone into economic decline and in many cases complete disaster."
U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) said the proposed hurricane recovery spending plan offers Congress the opportunity "to actually start whittling away at the size of government and our budget" in order to afford those unexpected expenses.
He also disagreed with the notion held by many supply side economists that "deficits don't matter.
"I have been in these arguments with folks who suggest that deficits don't matter, but I have never heard them say that lower deficits aren't better," Tancredo said.
The Colorado Republican proposed selling off 15 percent of federally-owned land to raise revenues to offset the costs of Hurricane Katrina.
Members of the conservative National Taxpayer Union were also on hand with signs reading "Compensate for Katrina, Cut Costs," "Rescue Taxpayers from a flood of red ink" and "Deficit Spending is a Disaster Pending."
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