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GOP Can’t Pass the CR Deal Alone

Tom Williams/Roll Call
Rep. Mike Pence is one of several prominent conservatives who say they will not vote for the final stopgap spending bill for this fiscal year.

As is expected in the House, liberal Democrats may object to the spending cuts as too deep — as well as to the D.C. abortion and vouchers provisions — while conservative Republicans may vote “no” because of what’s not in the bill. The final version comes well below the $61 billion in cuts that conservatives had sought, and it doesn’t carry policy riders that would have eliminated federal funding for Planned Parenthood and blocked implementation of the health care overhaul.

“There’s definitely not going to be unanimous support,” one Senate GOP aide said. “There are a number of folks who were elected not to vote for Obamacare funding, not to vote for taxpayer funding for abortion and not to vote for deficit spending.”

Sen. Rand Paul, founder of the Senate’s Tea Party Caucus, came out Monday against the compromise proposal, which he described as “not credible or serious.”

“I prefer to be on ... the side of the people who sent us here to Washington to do something,” the Kentucky Republican wrote in a “Dear Colleague” letter. “To cut spending. To save our economy. To move toward a balanced budget. I will vote a resounding no this week to this so-called deal. And I urge my colleagues, if they are serious about cutting government spending, to do the same.”

Senate Democratic leaders do not expect to have trouble mustering the votes needed to pass the bill, but like in the House, it’s hard to know how many votes they will have until the details have been revealed, a senior Senate Democratic aide said.

Boehner, Reid and Obama came to an agreement late Friday night that cuts $38.5 billion of government spending.

Despite the expectation that potentially dozens of House Republican lawmakers will oppose the bill, the Republican whip team is continuing to focus on getting votes within the Conference.

Only 28 GOP lawmakers, including Jordan and Pence, opposed the latest three-day continuing resolution. However, a more accurate prediction for the final tally of Republican support for the six-month spending bill is thought to be the March 15 vote on a stopgap spending measure that garnered only 186 Republican votes. Fifty-four House Republicans opposed the measure, compared with just six for the first short-term CR this Congress.

Democratic aides had mixed reactions on whether House Democrats will support the final package. In the past three votes, Democratic leadership has been split on whether to support the measures. One Democratic leadership aide said Democratic support of the final package isn’t guaranteed, particularly if Republicans can’t get over the 218-vote hump of passing the bill on their own.

However, another leadership aide said Boehner won’t have trouble getting the measure across the finish line even if there are a slew of Republican defections.

“I think there will be a lot of Members who decide to vote for it,” the aide said. “It’s a deal the president brokered. There will be a lot of Members who want to support the president on this.”

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