The PJ Tatler

Blue Dogs to Obama: Keep Cutting

The Blue Dog Coalition of fiscally conservative, moderate Democrats took a serious hit in the 2010 midterm elections, accounting for half of the Democrats’ midterm losses and its numbers dropping from 54 members in the 111th Congress to 24 now in the 112th since Gabby Giffords left office. Additionally, Health Shuler (D-N.C.) said earlier this month that he won’t be seeking another term in November.

The Blue Dogs are still around, though, and the coalition’s leaders responded to President Obama’s proposed $3.8 trillion budget by saying they appreciate a focus on deficit reduction, but arguing it’s not enough.

“While I look forward to carefully reviewing the President’s budget in detail, I’m pleased that it cuts spending overall,” said Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.), Blue Dog co-chairman for communications. “However, we can and must do more to get our fiscal house back in order and return to the days of balanced budgets. The reality is that Congress hasn’t passed all of its appropriations bills on time for 15 straight years.

“The American people deserve the certainty of a solid budget and stable government and both parties in Congress need to fulfill their basic duty and pass a budget on time,” he added. “As we have done since 1995, the Blue Dogs will continue to lead the bipartisan effort in the House to promote fiscal responsibility, create more private-sector jobs and get our economy back on track.”

“I appreciate the President’s efforts to change the trajectory of government spending in line with the bipartisan Budget Control Act passed last year,” said Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), chairman of the Blue Dog Task Force on Fiscal Responsibility. “I also applaud his continued focus on creating jobs now and in the future through vital investments in infrastructure and education. However, I still encourage the president to adopt the long-held Blue Dog principle of cutting deficits by at least $4 trillion over the next ten years, or else the long-term future of our nation’s younger generation remains bleak.”

“Developing a budget that can pass the House, Senate, and be signed into law by the president will be difficult,” said Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.) Blue Dog co-chairman for policy. “I’m going to take a close look at the president’s budget and identify ways we can cut spending, get our economy moving, and create jobs.

Depending on what opportunities the Blue Dogs might get to take some decisive spending-reduction stands and cast some decisive votes — with a better ending than their key role in the healthcare reform votes in the 111th — the Blue Dogs could be poised for a resurgence. Particularly when you consider this week’s Rasmussen poll that sounded a warning for GOP leaders: 35 percent of likely voters to the Republican agenda in Congress is mainstream while 52 percent label it “extreme.”