published Thursday, June 18th, 2009

GOP lawmaker asks if colleagues are 'Obama Republicans'

NASHVILLE -- A Knox County Republican lawmaker acknowledged Wednesday that some of his GOP colleagues are upset with him after he questioned in a blog posting whether they were "Obama Republicans" for supporting the House's bipartisan budget proposal.

"A couple of people got all huffy and puffy about it and got a little excited because I said a budget with all the deficit spending and the tax increases was going to pass," Rep. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, said. "I was expecting all the Democrats to vote for it and Kent Williams and a couple of the Obama Republicans."

House Speaker Williams is the Republican who was elected speaker this year by all 49 Democrats in the 99-member chamber.

Nationally, Republicans have questioned President Obama's large deficit spending.

Rep. Campfield said he is not backing off his assertions.

"I stand by it. If the shoe fits, wear it," he said. "They know who they are. If they think their ideals and idea match what Obama would be doing if he were here, that's great. If they don't think it fits, they don't have anything to worry about."

In his posting, Rep. Campfield charged the bipartisan plan employed "credit card logic" because of its acceptance of $138 million in bonds for higher education construction projects and $350 million in bonds for bridge repair and replacement.

"Our comptroller and treasurer warned us repeatedly this is dangerous waters," Rep. Campfield wrote, citing recently appointed Republican Comptroller Justin Wilson and Republican Treasurer David Lillard.

Mr. Wilson and Mr. Lillard are advising Senate Republicans who are preparing to vote on a budget that strips out the use of bonds and threatens the construction of a new UTC library. The state shouldn't be borrowing money through bonds when revenues continue to fall, Senate GOP leaders have said.

A Tuesday night House vote on tax legislation accompanying the budget plan got the votes of nine Republicans, including Rep. Williams. Among those also voting for it was Deputy Speaker Steve McDaniel, R-Parkers Crossroads.

The deputy speaker said he had heard about Rep. Campfield's blog postings and shrugged off the assertions, noting, "it's typical Campfield. He's just Campfield. I do not take it seriously."

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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