U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann likes to call himself "the proven conservative" in Tennessee's 3rd Congressional District scrum, but a top anti-spending group isn't so sure.
The Washington, D.C.-based Club for Growth tracked votes on this year's proposed amendments to House appropriations bills that would have reduced spending and put the savings toward debt reduction - something Fleischmann claims to do every time he votes on the House floor.
The study found that 20 House Republicans supported all 25 amendments for what Club officials describe as pure spending cuts, earning a 100 percent score.
The average Republican scored 59 percent, according to Politico. Fleischmann scored 44 percent, supporting 11 of 25 amendments overall and finishing last among seven House Republicans from Tennessee.
"Fleischmann has a decent record overall on economic freedom," Club for Growth spokesman Barney Keller said. "When it comes to cutting spending, he wavers."
Keller said Club for Growth commissioned the study after the GOP seized the House in 2010 and promised absolute fiscal discipline.
"Many Republicans say they're going to Washington to cut spending," Keller said. "Once they get there, they don't."
The study does not include House votes that slashed spending, then used the savings toward another federal expenditure.
A Fleischmann spokesman said he hasn't seen the study, but promised a response today.
Among the cuts the first-term congressman opposed:
* An amendment that would have eliminated all funding provided in the Energy & Water appropriations bill for renewable energy programs.
* An amendment that would cut spending for the International Trade Administration by $277.8 million in the Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill.
* An amendment that would cut spending for the National Science Foundation by $1.2 billion in the Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill.
* An amendment that would have cut spending for energy efficiency and renewable energy activities by $74 million in the Energy & Water appropriations bill.
All four amendments failed.
Fleischmann supported legislation that would cut $542,000 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and $878,000 from the Congressional Research Service. Both amendments passed and are pending with the Senate.
Club for Growth said the "spending cuts scorecard" is ongoing since the House hasn't passed appropriations bills for several federal departments, including Defense and Transportation.
For complete details, see tomorrow's Chattanooga Times Free Press.