Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert says he's optimistic the new Congress will be a lot better than the old one at controlling federal spending, but believes Republicans have to be 'true to our word' on debt reduction to get it done.
The Republican acknowledged on Fox News's Sean Hannity show Wednesday night that his party had failed to live up to its promise two years ago to cut federal spending back to "the pre-bailout levels" of 2008. He says he still believes it can happen, but not without lots of prayer and a renewed commitment from GOP members.
"I would ask anybody that believes in the power of prayer, be praying. We have a fresh start tomorrow and I hope and pray that's what we will have," he told Hannity, insisting the growing federal debt can be eliminated if Republicans use their majority strength in the House to force a change in spending habits.
Gohmert stopped short of suggesting a government shutdown, a possibility that some of his colleagues raised on Wednesday. But he said Republicans must recommit to honoring the pledge they made in 2010 to return to 2008 spending levels.
"We made that pledge, we ran on that," Gohmert said. "By the grace of God and the people of America, we got the majority again in the House . . . We haven't done it for the last two years, but I'm hoping and praying that we will finally be true to our word."
Gohmert appeared on the program with his GOP colleague, Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who agreed that Republicans need to refocus their efforts on spending restraints in the wake of the fiscal cliff deal that by some estimates adds as much as $4 trillion to the federal debt.
At the moment, the Republican Caucus appears to be anything but united, given the split within the party over the controversial cliff deal and the loss of confidence in House Speaker John Boehner's leadership among some GOP members for his decision to hold a vote on it.
Chaffetz and Gohmert, who both voted against the cliff compromise, dismissed suggestions that Boehner could lose his job if just 17 Republicans dissert him when the new Congress meets today to elect its new leadership.
"That's a nonstarter," Chaffetz said, noting that a fight among Republicans over the speakership could pave the way for Senate Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to challenge for control of the House.
"Look, our fight is against the Democrats," he said. "I want to make sure that we understand and we stay focused on the fact that since the fiscal year started for the federal government we are already $300 billion in the red, since October 1st.
"And so, I realize that there is some infighting [among Republicans], but we have got to be focused on cutting spending and cutting first year spending . . . We've got to cut $100 billion in the first year, drive spending to less than 20 percent of GDP, and then pass a balanced budget amendment."
Gohmert said it won't be easy because President Barack Obama has "never done anything but spend more money and raise people's taxes." But he said when Americans realize the actual cost of Obamacare, in terms of tax increases as it begins to be implemented in full over the next year, they will understand that more has to be done to get the nation's debt under control.
"There are some things that are going to happen this year that are going to shock people because they're going to find out that President Obama has not been truthful in his representations," Gohmert said. "They're going to get hammered this year [on taxes]."
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