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Dick Lugar: Big Spender

It is no secret that there is no love lost between Indiana Senator Dick Lugar and the Tea Party. Along with his colleagues Olympia Snowe and Orrin Hatch, Lugar represents one of the top Republican Senate primary targets for the Tea Party. But unlike Snowe and Hatch, Lugar has chosen to take a confrontational approach to this element of his party. Regarding the START Treaty, he told Tea Partiers to “get real,” and his spokesman has said that they “reject the premise” that conservative must “kowtow to the Tea Party.”

Explaining his distaste for the Tea Party, Lugar told reporters in January that Tea Party supporters are motivated by anger, complaining “we want this or that stopped or there is spending, big government—these are all, we would say, sort of large cliché titles, but they are not able to articulate all the specifics.”

If Lugar is concerned that Tea Party is having trouble articulating specific spending or “big government” policies, perhaps he will offer up cuts to the Farm Bill and agricultural subsidies. But, this is unlikely because a close look at Lugar’s record, shows he is a big fan of government spending.

As a look at his record shows, Lugar is a big spender:

LUGAR VOTED FOR DEBT CEILING INCREASES

Richard Lugar Voted to Raise Debt Limit to Nearly $9 Trillion.  In 2006, Lugar voted to raise the federal debt limit to $8.965 trillion, a $781 billion increase. When President Bush went into office, the debt limit was $5.95 trillion and the 2006 vote represented the fourth time the Bush Administration asked Congress to raise the debt limit. [Roll Call 54, H J Res 47, 03/16/2006; Chicago Tribune, 3/17/06]

Lugar Voted to Increase National Debt.  During debate on the final fiscal year 2006 budget resolution, Lugar voted against a motion to adopt a budget that does not increase the national debt. Explaining tax breaks included in the budget package, Sen. Frank Lautenberg said, “The Democrats want to pay for these tax cuts by ending giveaways to rich special interests. But the Republican side said: No, no, don’t persecute millionaires.” [Roll Call 20, HR 4297, 02/14/2006; Congressional Record, 2/13/06]

Lugar Supported Raising the Debt Limit.  In March 2004, Lugar voted in support of raising the debt limit. More specifically, he voted against the Lautenberg amendment to the Fiscal Year 2005 Budget Resolution, which was an amendment to strike reconciliation instructions from the resolution for the Finance Committee to report legislation that would increase the statutory debt limit. [Roll Call 57, S Con Res 95, 03/11/2004]

Lugar Voted to Increase Federal Debt Limit to $7.38 Trillion.  Lugar voted for the passage of the joint resolution that would increase the federal debt limit to $7.38 trillion, a $984 billion increase. [Roll Call 202, H J Res 51, 05/23/2003]

Lugar Voted Against Reducing the Debt Limit By $634 Billion.  Lugar voted against an amendment that would reduce the debt limit increase in the bill by $634 billion. [Roll Call 197, H J Res 51, 05/23/2003]

Lugar-Backed FY07 Budget Shattered Debt Ceiling and Allowed Drilling in ANWR.  Lugar voted for the $2.8 trillion FY07 Budget Resolution which, among other things, cleared the way for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and provided $10 billion for Gulf Coast restoration. The budget was approved only after Republicans approved an amendment allowing the government to borrow an additional $781 billion, bringing the debt ceiling to nearly $9 trillion. [Roll Call 74, S Con Res 83, 03/16/2006; Los Angeles Times, 3/17/06; Washington Post, 3/18/06]

LUGAR VOTED FOR IRRESPONSIBLE GOP BUDGETS

Lugar Voted For Initial FY 2006 Budget Resolution; Included Even More Tax Cuts Than The President Requested.  In 2005, Lugar voted for the Senate version of the $2.57 trillion FY 2006 Budget. The bill included $134 billion in tax cuts, even more than the President requested, partially by extending capital gains and dividend tax cuts, while it called for about $17 billion in mandatory spending cuts over five years. The budget also included parliamentary language that would make it easier to open ANWR to oil exploration and drilling. [Roll Call 81, S Con Res 18, 03/17/2005]

Richard Lugar Voted Against Requiring President Bush to Be Forthright About Cost of War.  In 2005, Richard Lugar voted against a Democratic amendment that called on President Bush to include war funding for Iraq and Afghanistan in annual budget requests, rather than using the emergency supplemental budget to fund the war. [Roll Call 96, HR 1268, 04/18/2005]

Lugar Voted for Final FY 2006 Budget Resolution.  In April 2005, Lugar voted for final passage of the $2.6 trillion budget conference report for 2006. The report cut Medicaid spending by $10 billion, spent every penny of the Social Security surplus, increased the national deficit by $167.5 billion over 5 years and paved the way for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Furthermore, the conference report cut funding for veterans’ health care by $13.5 billion over five years. Yet the budget still found room for $106 billion in tax cuts for those who need it the least. [Roll Call 114, H Con Res 95, 04/28/2005; House Budget Committee Democratic Caucus, 4/28/05]

Richard Lugar Voted for Final FY06 Budget Resolution That Ignored Cost of War.  Richard Lugar voted for the final version of the Republicans’ $2.56 trillion Fiscal Year 2006 budget resolution, which passed 52-47, provided over $100 billion in tax cuts over five years while ignoring the cost of the war in Iraq. [Roll Call 114, H Con Res 95, 04/28/2005; New York Times, 4/29/05]

Richard Lugar Voted to Add At Least $1.14 Trillion to the Deficit.  In 2006, Lugar voted in favor of the Republican budget resolution that mirrored Bush’s proposals and would add trillions to the deficit. While Senate Republicans claimed that the budget resolution will reduce the deficit, the cumulative deficit over five years was already forecasted to be $1.14 trillion with this budget—before lawmakers added another $16 billion for appropriations to help the package win approval. Under the Republican five-year budget, the U.S. debt will reach nearly $12 trillion in 2011. With no brakes on spending and no plans to raise revenues, the “federal debt is now raising at an unprecedented clip.” [Roll Call 74, S Con Res 83, 03/16/2006; Budget Committee Minority Staff, 3/15/06; Washington Post, 3/17/06]

Lugar Opposed Responsible FY08 Budget Resolution.  In March 2007, Lugar voted against the initial version of the Fiscal Year 2008 budget resolution. [Roll Call 114, S Con Res 21, 03/23/2007]

LUGAR VOTED AGAINST PAYGO

Richard Lugar Voted Against Restoring PAYGO Rules in 2006.  In March 2006, Lugar voted against restoring pay-as-you-go rules that would require and 60-vote majority to enact new tax cuts or new spending on entitlements without showing how to pay for them. “For those who say they are fiscally responsible, here is your chance,” said Sen. Kent Conrad, senior Democrat on the Budget Committee. “You are going to be able to prove with one vote whether you are serious about doing something about these runaway debts and runaway deficits or whether it is all talk.” [Roll Call 38, S Con Res 83, 03/14/2006; New York Times, 3/15/06; Star Tribune, 3/16/06]