Weston Wamp hits Fleischmann on spending cut votes

photo Weston Wamp and Chuck Fleischmann.

Weston Wamp said a new study validates his charge that U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann hasn't honored a campaign pledge to save taxpayer cash.

"Mr. Fleischmann's record shows that his walk does not line up with his talk," Wamp said Thursday in a news release. "When he had a chance to make a difference and cut spending, he couldn't pull the trigger."

Wamp, who along with two others is challenging Fleischmann in Tennessee's 3rd Congressional District Republican primary, was remarking on a study released by the Washington, D.C.-based Club for Growth. The study tracked House votes on this year's 25 proposed amendments to appropriations bills that would have slashed spending and put the savings toward debt reduction -- something Fleischmann claims to attempt every time he visits the House floor.

Not so, according to the study. Fleischmann supported 11 of 25 amendments overall, scoring 44 percent and finishing last among seven House Republicans from Tennessee.

The average Republican scored 59 percent.

Fleischmann defended his voting record.

"Most of these votes would have adversely impacted Oak Ridge [Tenn.], and I have said from day one ... that the ongoing national security and nuclear energy work at Oak Ridge is a top priority of mine," Fleischmann said in a email sent by campaign spokesman Jordan Powell.

In his release, Wamp, the 25-year-old son of former U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, did not say whether he would have supported all the appropriations amendments, but in the past he has praised his father's support for Oak Ridge and pledged to continue that tradition.

Among the cuts Fleischmann opposed:

• An amendment that would have made an across-the-board reduction of 0.27 percent in the Energy & Water appropriation bill's discretionary spending.

• An amendment that would have cut spending for energy efficiency and renewable energy activities by $74 million in the Energy & Water appropriations bill.

• An amendment that would cut spending for the National Science Foundation by $1.2 billion in the Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill.

All three amendments failed. 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.

Club for Growth endorsed Robin Smith over Fleischmann in 2010's contentious 3rd District Republican primary. Earlier this year, Fleischmann scored 86 percent on the Club's comprehensive "scorecard" examining votes on taxes, regulation and free trade.

"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 officials don't believe they'll get involved in this year's GOP race between Fleischmann, Ron Bhalla, Scottie Mayfield and Wamp.

Democrats Mary Headrick and Bill Taylor are competing for their party's nomination, while independent Matthew Denniston also is in the race.

Primaries are Aug. 2.