Feb. 11, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Budget Standoff Rhetoric Begins to Appear Routine

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan is hoping to pass the budget out of committee by the end of this month.

Nine Republican members of the committee voted against the final version of the BCA and are resistant to agreeing to that spending level. They hope to influence Ryan to introduce a budget at $930 billion.

Democrats and some Republicans might not agree to vote for such a low number, however.

Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), a member of the RSC and the Budget Committee, said he is trying to broker a deal with skeptical Republican appropriators in which they vote for the lower budget with the promise that the RSC Members will vote for their appropriations bills that conform to that number. That would mean Republicans could pass their bills without Democratic votes.

But the promise rings hollow in the corridors of the Appropriations Committee.

“It is not realistic or sensible to assume that there would be enough promised votes to make up for the 50 to 60 Republicans that consistently oppose any appropriations bills,” a GOP aide said.

Mulvaney also said he could be swayed to approve a higher spending limit if Ryan introduced a plan to balance the budget within 10 or 12 years instead of more than 20.

“There is no concerted effort here to try to shipwreck the budget,” Mulvaney said. “We’re trying to get to a unified Republican budget without the Republican Study Committee offering their own budget.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi indicated Thursday that her Democratic Caucus would offer little assistance passing Ryan’s budget because of his promised changes to Medicare. She said Budget ranking member Chris Van Hollen (Md.) will introduce a Democratic budget later this year.

“We will have our Democratic House budget as we go forward,” the California Democrat told reporters. “It will not end the Medicare guarantee or have initiatives in it that can cause Medicare to wither on the vine.”

The episode is making for unlikely bedfellows. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Republican leaders and Democrats all seem to favor the BCA number, while a faction within the Republican Conference wants to go lower.

“I think it’s just a matter of delay because eventually we’re going to have to come back to that number,” said Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), an appropriator. “They’re just trying to prove a point.

“They’ve got a tiger by the tail right now. I don’t know how they rein it in,” he added.

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