Way back in January, when economic growth and job growth was a bit higher than it is now, Republicans described their mission this way: Cut and Grow. Eric Cantor laid it out in a January op-ed.
Our approach to governing is simple: Cut and grow. Cut spending and job-destroying regulation and grow private-sector jobs and the economy. With everything we do in Congress, we will ask the following questions: Are our efforts addressing job creation and the economy; are they cutting spending; and are they shrinking the size of the federal government while protecting and expanding individual liberty? If not, why are we doing it?
He followed up with a speech at Heritage:
In short time, it is my hope that this Congress under a Republican Majority will become known as the Cut and Grow Congress. Cut spending and job-impeding regulation and grow private-sector jobs and the economy.
Since then, we’ve had several protracted debates about austerity and the sizes of budget cuts, and legislation related to those priorities has passed. We’ve also seen employment and GDP growth stutter to a halt. At his pen-and-pad briefing today, I asked Cantor if Republican if he’d been surprised that the cuts of Cut and Grow had not come with the, well, growth.
“We’ve been about cut and grow,” he said. “The fact is, the last eight months plus, we’ve been about cuts. And that’s why it is imperative that all of us join together, work with the president, to see how we can grow this economy. That’s why I welcome the president’s speech tomorrow night, I welcome him to Richmond on Friday. I also think it’s imperative in the spirit of trying to reach results, and stop impugning motive, and calling people out, and insinuating people are putting politics above country.”
So, is this a pivot? “If you look at our agenda for the next three to four months, there’s a lot we can do right now to provide relief, roll back these proposed regulations, that will allow for small business and others to grow. We also are going to be putting out there, as well as a discussion of comprehensive tax reform, some of the things that can help right away.”
PRI’s Todd Zwillich followed up on this, asking if the cuts were always expected to be unrelated to the growth. “Growing is part of the budget situation,” said Cantor. “You can’t achieve the result of managing down the debt and deficit if you don’t have any growth. These are intertwined. This is simultaneous. So much of the effort has been focused on cutting because, frankly, I think you’ve seen House Republicans have demonstrated our willingness to produce savings and cut government spending.”