Aug. 28, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Stuck in CR Debate as Budget Looms

Tom Williams/Roll Call

Senate Republicans reacted favorably to the Wisconsin Republican’s bill for moving the debate forward.

Sen. Richard Burr, who remains close to Boehner after serving with him in the House, said the Ryan budget “makes it easier to find the cohesiveness within the Republican Party,” but he expects the Speaker to stick to his guns in talks with Democrats on the CR.

“If you’re going to get on a glide path to where we need to be long-term, you can’t keep punting this down the road, even for six months, and I think John recognizes that,” the North Carolina Republican said.

Lawmakers have until midnight Friday to come to an agreement or face a government shutdown. Boehner said Wednesday afternoon that House Republicans would move forward with a one-week stopgap bill today that would cut $6 billion from the budget while funding the Defense Department through September. Senate Democrats have insisted that this measure is a non-starter; however, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said earlier this week that the Senate may choose to amend the one-week bill.

Boehner and Reid were meeting with the White House late Wednesday night.

Boehner’s public positions on the CR haven’t reflected that he’s as eager to settle the issue quickly as some in his party. One GOP lawmaker said Boehner privately acknowledges the budget plays into passing the CR but added, “It’s important that Boehner can’t be perceived to be messaging on it.”

Boehner’s spokesman, Michael Steel, said in an email that the Speaker is maintaining a consistent message publicly and privately: “Boehner has said that we need to finish last year’s business — the FY 2011 spending — because we have bigger fights to come: Chairman Ryan’s budget and the cutting spending to pass the debt-limit increase.”

And even with many lawmakers ready to cut a CR deal, still others are holding out for maximum cuts wherever they can find them. “I’m not more likely to vote for something that I otherwise would not vote for because of a rush to get to the budget,” freshman Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said.

Rep. Doug Lamborn agreed. He said the CR remains critically important.

“I don’t think anyone can put their guard down and become complacent,” the Colorado Republican said. “If we’re not perceived as sticking to our principles, it won’t help us in future negotiations with the Senate, especially on the debt limit.”

“If we throw in the towel on the CR, that doesn’t send a very good message,” he added.

Steven T. Dennis and Kathleen Hunter contributed to this report.

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