Tea Party Congressman Steve King (R-IA) appeared on Fox News Tuesday morning to argue in favor of shutting down the federal government and breaching the debt ceiling if President Obama does not agree to drastic spending reductions. “We can start shutting down the appropriations. We can dig in,” King explained. “We must have cuts to go along with any debt increase. They must be substantial. There must be a line.”
But when pressed for specific spending cuts the GOP could support by host Martha MacCallum, King demurred, arguing that any details Republicans offer would simply be attacked as political fodder:
MACCALLUM: I guess what I’m asking for is in terms of a plan, I mean, are you going to put forth something that says, we, the House Republicans believe that this program should be cut, this agency should be cut, these are the spending cuts that we would outline in order to offset the increase in the debt ceiling? We believe that there needs to be cuts and these are what they would be? Are you going to do that?
KING: You know Martha, we’re going to get together this weekend and we’re gona crunch all that out. So I don’t want to presume that there is consensus there I might adhere to. […]
MACCALLUM: You need to sell that idea to the American people with specifics and with a plan and say we’re the House GOP. Here’s what we would do. Here are the programs we would cut in order to reach parity over the next five years. We may never get this, but we want the American people to understand what we stand for. Is that something we can expect?
KING: Well, Martha, I take your point that we need to sell it with specifics. But you also understand as soon as a specific is put out there, it is attacked by the spending piranhas on the other side.
King’s approach mirrors the tactic of the Republican leadership, which refused to offer spending specifics throughout the debate over the so-called “fiscal cliff,” instead demanding that Democrats detail reductions the GOP might agree to.
Republicans point to the Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget as evidence of the cuts they’ve proposed, but that document is not an appropriations bill that specifies where the cuts will come from.