Five days ago, Idaho Congressman Walt Minnick chastised President Obama for his "disturbing" budget proposal, advocating for more strict deficit reduction measures while encouraging reinstating statutory pay-as-you-go rules. In fact Minnick's press release described himself as a "vocal proponent of PAYGO," a spending control measure adopted in the 1990s which helped lead to budget surpluses.
Today Congressman Minnick had a chance to vote on a statutory pay-as-you-go rule and, inexplicably, he voted against it.
On a 233 to 187 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to reimpose statutory pay-as-you-go rules without a single Republican voting in favor and Minnick joining just 14 Democrats opposed. The PayGo act passed the Senate last week as an amendment to a bill raising the debt ceiling to roughly $14.3 trillion and in today's vote, the House considered the PayGo portion of the bill separately.
PayGo had the support of most fiscally conservative Democrats—The Hill reported that Blue Dog Democrats broke out in applause when the measure passed—making this an incredibly curious vote for Minnick.
“You hear a lot from the other side about how this Congress is spending money excessively, but they offer no real solutions to get us back on a pathway to fiscal responsibility," said Rep. Baron Hill (D-Ind.), a senior Blue Dog. "This is the proven method to get us back on that path."
Minnick isn't alone, though. While railing against the President's budget proposal as fiscally irresponsible, the entire Idaho Congressional Delegation—Senators Crapo and Risch last week and today Reps. Simpson and Minnick—has now gone on record in opposition to adopting rules that would help keep spending under control.
Since taking office in January 2009, Minnick has attempted to posture himself as a fiscal conservative, frequently labeling fiscal accountability his "core issue." Apparently that core is rather hollow.