CNC: Tennessee Congressmen Leary of Budget Cuts

With Congress nearing a vote on a compromise spending plan for the rest of this fiscal year, some Tennessee lawmakers are wary about its impact on the state. But their minds are pretty much made up.

Republican freshman Scott DesJarlais plans to vote for the 2011 budget deal. He says the first goal was to shift the conversation from ‘controlling’ spending to cutting it, and that much has occurred.

DESJARLAIS: “Really, we wanted to get to where we’re talking about serious money.”

Not that 38.5 billion dollars in cuts isn’t serious, he says – but it will be dwarfed by the fight over next year’s budget.

Some of this year’s cuts hit close to home.

DESJARLAIS: “There are no funds available right now for meth clean up. Like everyone else they just kind of flipped that switch. It is important that we find a way to control that problem, especially in Tennessee’s 4th district.”

For his part, Democrat Steve Cohen says he’s leaning toward voting against the compromise.

COHEN: “There are cuts to education. There are cuts to health care. And these concern me.”

Too one-sided, says Cohen.

COHEN: “I’d like to see shared sacrifice. I think not only should there not be cuts to the people who are at the bottom, but there ought to be taxes on millionaires.”

The House will vote first this week; then it’s on to the Senate.

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