Speaker John Boehner is under increasing pressure from his right flank to hold firm on a $61 billion spending cut in any final, long-term spending deal with Democrats.
While the final figure is important, Kingston said controversial social riders to cut funding for health care reform and Planned Parenthood must also be included in a final product. “There are some things that we have to be able to go back to our base and say we got a victory, not just a mathematical accomplishment,” he said. “You can compromise on the math a lot easier if the riders survive.”
Although Democrats have said those riders are non-starters, GOP negotiators are hoping to keep some in the final package to appease their right flank.
“I think you are going to continue to see House Republicans dig in and fight for a fundamental change of direction,” Rep. Mike Pence said. The Indiana Republican authored language in H.R. 1 that would end federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
“Nobody wants to shut down the government, but if we don’t take a stand for fiscal discipline, we are going to shut down the future for our children and grandchildren.”
Rep. Lee Terry said that over the Congressional recess last week, his constituents urged him to quit compromising, even if that results in a government shutdown.
“They said: ‘Why are you worrying about a shutdown? You should just be focused on cutting,’” the Nebraska Republican said. “I was, frankly, taken aback by how much I heard it.”
Terry said he relayed that sentiment to leadership.
Republican moderates have been far less strident in their rhetoric but appear to be on board with their leadership’s strategy heading into a final deal.
Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio), a Tuesday Group member and ally of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), said moderates like him “are pretty much on board with what the leadership is doing.”
“As far as the strategy the leadership has laid out for the CR, which is to reaffirm H.R. 1 and up the ante to indicate that it’s time for the Senate to come up with something, if it leads to a problem and the Congress doesn’t get paid and the president doesn’t get paid, I’m OK with that, and the Tuesday Groupers are OK with that too,” he said.
Still, LaTourette said he hoped the 54 Republicans who voted against the last short-term CR “will reconsider their position” so GOP leaders don’t have to go searching for votes on the Democratic aisle if and when a deal is struck.
Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy met with conservative Democrats after the last short-term CR was approved and discussed areas where they could work together. But on Wednesday, the California Republican tamped down media accounts suggesting that he’s looking to the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition to come up with the votes to pass a final package.
“For us to rely on Democrats to get us to 218 is not a great strategy,” LaTourette said.