Feb. 12, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

War on Fiscal Discipline Rages as Democrats Weigh Alternatives

Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call
House Budget ranking member Chris Van Hollen plans to unveil his alternative to the Republican budget Wednesday.

But, the Kentucky Republican cautioned, “until he indicates he’s willing to sign something, it’s all just talk.”

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) used his weekly press briefing to poke at Obama’s decision to step into deficit reduction talks now. But House Republicans may have problems of their own in getting support from a wide swathe of their Conference on Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) proposal.

GOP aides maintain they will have at least 218 votes behind the budget and attribute the support to a monthlong outreach effort led by Ryan, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Deputy Whip Peter Roskam (R-Ill.). The three have held listening sessions over the last month, during which Members were briefed about the budget while Ryan was crafting the plan. Those sessions helped leaders get buy-in from Members leading up to this week’s vote, one Republican aide said.

The aide acknowledged that a faction of Members remain squeamish about the budget, particularly over the Medicare and Medicaid provisions, but predicted Republicans will ultimately pass the document with overwhelming support.

“I think Members are very comfortable with where the debate is and the budget is because they’ve been a part of this process since day one, and I think they appreciate that,” the aide said.

David M. Drucker, Jessica Brady and John Stanton contributed to this report.

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