D.C. Chatter: Paul pledges to cut $500 billion, Chandler votes for Pelosi as Speaker this time

01/06/2011 09:52 AM

Sen. Paul pledges to introduce $500 billion in cuts

On the campaign trail, Kentucky’s newest Republican U.S. Senator, Rand Paul, made balancing the budget and slashing the federal deficit the cornerstone of his campaign. In his first video address as a senator, Paul once again featured those subjects.

In the video, Paul says he will introduce a $500 billion spending cut to the federal budget, without saying what will be cut in his proposal. And the new senator says he plans to deliver on his campaign message of introducing a balanced budget amendment this month as well.

The video can be seen on Paul’s new YouTube page. Paul also recently went on CNN with his father — and new roommate in Washington — Texas U.S. Rep. Ron Paul. The two also appeared this week on ABC News.

Chandler joins majority of Democrats to support Pelosi

Throughout the fall election, Republicans sought to tie 6th District U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles, to Democratic U.S. House leader Nancy Pelosi. The National Republican Congressional Committee at one point called Chandler a “lap dog” for Pelosi.

Chandler tried to buck that label during the 2010 lame duck session of Congress when he voted for North Carolina Rep. Health Shuler for the spot of Democratic leader in the 2011 Congress, instead of Pelosi. He told Pure Politics in an interview in late November that Shuler, who is more conservative, had views that more closely matched those of voters in Central Kentucky.

But when it came time to support a Speaker of the House this week, Chandler joined the majority of Democrats in their symbolic vote for Pelosi. (The Republican majority installed John Boehner as Speaker who takes over the gavel from Pelosi.)

Nineteen Democrats chose not to vote for Pelosi and instead passed, supported Shuler or a smattering of other Democrats. The Washington Post reported 19 was the highest number of defections from a caucus since 1913.

Chandler, who already is being targeted by Republicans in 2012, immediately took criticism from Republicans in Chandler’s district, who challenged Chandler’s claim of voting “independence.”

“Ben Chandler hasn’t gotten the message. After being reelected by being on the lucky side of a tie, Ben Chandler has gone right back to putting his Washington friends ahead of the interests of Central Kentucky,” said Carol Rogers, Chair of the Fayette County Republican Party in an e-mailed statement. “He once again demonstrated his support for Pelosi’s leadership that brought us irresponsible bailouts, record debt levels, Obamacare and 10% unemployment.”

Correction: An earlier version of this post left out that some of the 19 votes by Democrats went to others besides Shuler.


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