Fox's Wilson falsely reported that budget cuts passed House "along party lines"February 2, 2006 4:14 PM EST ››› ANDREW SEIFTER
On the February 1 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, congressional correspondent Brian Wilson falsely reported that legislation enacting nearly $40 billion in budget cuts, from programs including federal student loans and Medicaid, "passed along party lines." In fact, 13 Republicans joined all 200 Democrats and independent Rep. Bernie Sanders (VT) in voting against the measure. Wilson also uncritically reported that "Republicans hail it [the budget bill] as the first step to restoring fiscal discipline," without noting that Democrats -- and some Republicans -- believe the Republican-sponsored tax cuts will wipe out any impact the budget cuts would have had on the federal deficit.
Democratic critics of the budget cuts have noted that the projected loss in revenue from Republican legislation to permanently extend tax cuts on capital gains and dividends -- which passed the House on December 8 by a vote of 234-197 -- would outweigh the savings from the budget cuts. Several Republicans have issued similar statements. For example, a February 2 New York Times article noted that, although Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) voted in favor of the budget cuts after opposing the extension of the tax cuts, he said: "We can't keep cutting taxes and cutting revenues, while cutting programs to protect the most vulnerable in society." Reporting that the Senate began reconciling House and Senate versions of the tax cut legislation, The Washington Post reported on February 2 that Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-OH) also shares Democratic concerns about the budget cuts in light of the tax cuts:
"I do not know how anyone can say with a straight face that when we voted to cut spending in December to help achieve deficit reductions, we can now turn around a short while later to provide tax cuts that exceed or cancel out the reduction in spending," Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio) said yesterday, as the Senate took up a procedural motion that would allow tax-cut negotiations to begin. "We cannot afford these tax cuts."
From the February 1 edition of Special Report with Brit Hume:
WILSON: Acting majority leader Roy Blunt of Missouri is thought to have the lead [in the race for House Majority Leader] but hasn't been able to seal the deal with the necessary 117 votes.
But Blunt did ram through final passage of a $39 billion package of budget cuts late this afternoon, a sign that he has the ability to hold House Republicans together. This legislation, passed along party lines, now goes to the president's desk. Republicans hail it as the first step to restoring fiscal discipline. This was supposed to have been passed late last year, but the Senate imposed last-minute changes just before the holiday break.