Recently I reached out to Rick May, the Staff Director of the U.S. House Budget Committee from 1993-1997, to ask him about his experience with then Chairman John Kasich as they worked to formulate a balanced budget.
His first-hand accounts are a fantastic read and it's my pleasure to share with you the results of this interview in a series running this week.
And now, part 3...
3BP: Can you give an anecdote of how John Kasich played a lead role in the development of the 1997 Balanced Budget Agreement?
There were many instances where John had some very difficult meetings or discussions with members of both political parties during the effort to balance the budget --- an effort that many members of the House identified as being John's goal and not always their goal. Even if there was agreement among key House members that balancing the budget was the path to take, there were times when I think many of these members were a little jealous of John's growing standing and national attention. So some members wasted no opportunity to tell John what they thought about a specific budget idea or suggestion that John may have made to help balance the budget. For example, there were cases where the House Appropriations Committee Chairman yelled and screamed at John when John was putting forth budget proposals that detailed specific cuts in spending under the Appropriations Committee's jurisdiction --- the Chairman did not take too kindly to the idea that John also knew where some of the fat in the appropriations bill was also located. Or, when the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee took offense when John suggested that not only should domestic spending be reduced during a balanced budget effort, but defense spending should also be cut.
But in every case where members may have disagreed with John's ideas, everyone knew that John was one of the key driving forces behind the balanced budget effort and his commitment to that goal was never questioned by anyone.