The Club for Growth, a conservative anti-tax, anti-spending group, said Thursday that it was looking for a primary challenger against Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, after he spoke out against President Barack Obama's plan to cut social security benefits.
"We always knew Greg Walden had a liberal record, but he really cemented it with his public opposition to even modest entitlement reform," Club for Growth president Chris Chocola said in a statement. "Greg Walden has voted for bailing out Wall Street, dozens of pork projects, and against cutting the spending from the Obama stimulus. He even voted against blocking taxpayer subsidies for Viagra. Greg Walden should be held accountable for his anti-growth voting record as well as his anti-growth rhetoric."
Walden has criticized an item in Obama's budget which would switch tax brackets and Social Security cost-of-living adjustments, which are indexed for inflation, to a "chained CPI," leading to reductions in future benefit increases.
"I thought it's very intriguing in that his budget really lays out kind of a shocking attack on seniors, if you will," Walden said Wednesday on CNN. "I'll tell ya, when you're already going after seniors, the way he's already done with Obamacare, taking $700 million out of Medicare to put into Obamacare, and now coming back at seniors again, I think he's crossing that line."
While it would seem that Republicans would cheer another attack on Obama, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) made it clear Thursday that he disagreed with this line of attack.
During his weekly briefing, Boehner said he has "had a conversation" with Walden about his comments and that he disagreed with him. He wouldn't say much more, despite a reporter's questions.
"I'll leave it at that," he said.
Grover Norquist, chairman of Americans for Tax Reform, said Wednesday that he considered the switch to chained CPI a tax hike. "Chained CPI is a very large tax hike over time," he wrote. "Hence Democrat interest in same."
Jen Bendery contributed reporting.