by Susan Ryan
U.S. Rep. Timothy V. Johnson issued the following statement after voting in opposition to the debt reduction plan put forward by House Speaker John Boehner on Friday.
Rep. Johnson Statement on Boehner Plan
“I have the greatest respect for Speaker Boehner. I believe he was the only person in leadership to act in good faith in these negotiations. I supported his Cut, Cap and Balance proposal a week ago and sincerely believed that was a way forward.
“This latest proposal, however, is a shadow of that effort. It promises cuts in the years ahead but as any of us who have any experience in the process knows, there are no guarantees that those cuts will actually occur.
“Our country is in crisis and there are many who have urged us to compromise. But compromise requires cooperation and there has been none from the other side. This plan offers no concrete plan to reform entitlements, and perhaps most importantly, continues to protect our bloated defense spending, including funding of an illegal incursion into Libya.
“I have been part of bipartisan efforts to withdraw from Afghanistan for over two years now. I have challenged the legality of what is an unconstitutional attack on Libya.
“We have spent, according to the White House, $1.3 trillion on conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. I believe the real cost is much higher. The Brown University Watson Institute for International Studies last month put the real cost at between $3.7 and $4.4 trillion when interest costs and long-term obligations to veterans are included. Real cuts there and across the board are not only possible but necessary.
“Real entitlement reform is possible and necessary.
“I cannot support any measure that does not seriously address Washington, D.C.’s profligate waste of hard-earned taxpayer dollars. This position arises not from any political motivation, but from my conscience and the knowledge of how wastefully this government spends our money. My position against debt limit increases and budgets under both Republican and Democratic administrations has been consistent and unwavering. Abdicating those principles now would be hypocritical.”
Representatives Johnson and Joe Walsh were the only Illinois Republicans voting against the Boehner plan. 20 other Republicans also voted against the default bill raising the debt ceiling that passed on Friday. Liberals plan a protest at Representative Johnson's office next week.