The Republican Party's new "Pledge to America," already battered by liberals, is now facing criticism from an unlikely source — some conservatives, who say it doesn't go far enough to rein in big government.
"This is the most fiscally irresponsible document ever offered by the GOP," blogger and columnist Andrew Sullivan wrote Thursday. "It is an act of vandalism against the fiscal balance of the U.S. It is the opposite of responsible conservatism."
Other conservative bloggers called it "milquetoast" and "smoke and mirrors."
The plan's GOP authors rejected those complaints, claiming the blueprint would promote job growth and a "path" to a balanced budget.
"I don't have all of the solutions, but I believe if we work with the American people, the American people will want to work with us to come to grips with these challenges that face our country," said Rep. John Boehner, the House minority leader, as he formally introduced the proposal Thursday at a lumberyard in Virginia.
Some conservatives did applaud the document for outlining a series of other reforms, including tough language against abortion, tighter congressional rules and a requirement that all bills include an enabling citation in the Constitution.
The plan also pledges to honor "traditional marriage" and faith-based organizations.
"The pledge is explicitly a beginning to the lengthy task of providing conservative governance, and a very good one," said an editorial on the conservative National Review's website.
But much of the attention focused on the pledge's budget math, which some critics on the left and right said was suspect.
Boehner said the unspecified budget cuts in the plan — a rollback of some federal spending to 2008 levels and budget caps — would save $1 trillion over the next 10 years. He acknowledged, though, that the reductions are only the "first steps" to a balanced federal budget, which is now swimming in red ink.
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