Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey declared victory Monday for Republicans in the congressional battle over federal spending and raising the debt limit, according to a report from Hank Hayes.
The Blountville Republican told a Greater Kingsport Republican Women’s luncheon he has been in GOP House Speaker John Boehner’s shoes as a negotiator at the state level.
Boehner, said Ramsey, sought “true cuts” with no tax increases plus a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
“Folks, we have won on this issue,” Ramsey said. “When we get the liberal New York Times doing an editorial today saying that (Democratic President Barack) Obama caved … and saying the Tea Party is driving the agenda, we conservatives have won. You need to take that and run with it.” Liberal Democrats, Ramsey added, are experts at getting half of what they want.
“We as conservatives sometimes are so principled that if we don’t get 90 percent, I can’t vote for that,” Ramsey noted. “We need to take this today and run with it, and then come back next year and go on to something else. If you get 90 percent of what you want, grab it, run with it and come back next year.”
Ramsey and state Reps. Tony Shipley and Scotty Campbell were at the luncheon to explain core differences between Democrats and Republicans.
In one instance, Ramsey recalled a 2007 meeting with former Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat who announced the state had collected $350 million more in franchise and excise taxes than expected.
“To me it was like somebody socked me in the stomach,” Ramsey told the audience. “A good Democrat came in my office and said ‘Why all the long faces?’… She said ‘Think of all the good things we can do with that (money).’ … That is a basic philosophical difference between Democrats and Republicans.”
Shipley, R-Kingsport, said Republicans believe in balancing budgets with cuts and not revenue increases, and challenging government.
“It will be me to represent you in Nashville, not the bureaucrats,” said Shipley, who is being probed by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for his role in the reinstatement of three nurse licenses by the state Board of Nursing. “You have the right to challenge government, and your elected representatives have a right to challenge it on your behalf.”
Shipley recalled his 2009 battle with the Department of Health over his legislation to give parents access to a minor child’s medical records.
“Do you have any idea how much heat I took over that from the Dems?” he asked. “It was horrific, and I argued until I was blue in the face about why parents should have a right to the medical records of their minor children with no exceptions … (but) I didn’t get to pass that.”
Shipley also said Republican lawmakers took away the Tennessee Education Association’s hold on teacher collective bargaining to give teachers more freedom of choice and opportunities to succeed.
Campbell, R-Mountain City, said he sees the main differences between Republicans and Democrats while serving on the House Finance Committee.
“The Democrats start by talking about taxes and more taxes, we don’t need to cut this, and we don’t need to cut that,” Campbell explained. “The reality is every one of those programs in the state budget … a constituent along the way has went to a (legislature) member and said ‘This is a great idea. We need this service.’ And the legislation passes in so many instances.”
Ramsey remembered Bredesen saying he believed it’s in Republicans’ DNA to cut taxes.
“I don’t think he meant it as a compliment,” Ramsey said of Bredesen. “We as Republicans really do believe that the money you earn is yours. … Government should take an absolute minimum amount of money to run state government. The Democrats believe that all the money belongs to the government, and you’re fortunate to make a little bit of it, and by the way if you make too much because you’ve worked hard … we’re going to take that away from you.”