House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” might have hit a dead end.
Months of legislative wrangling have left the Wisconsin Republican with his grand fiscal 2013 budget that sets out House Republicans’ values and hopes to get the country back on the right track.
And while Democrats immediately spurned the plan, it might be a small cadre of disenfranchised Republicans who shoot it down today.
If all of the Budget Committee Democrats vote against Ryan’s proposal in today’s markup as expected, just three of the 22 Republican members voting against the resolution could mark the end of the road.
The panel is stacked with conservative Republican Study Committee members and tea party freshmen who gripe that the plan does not go far enough to address the debt. Interviews with Members and staff showed that the votes to move the plan out of committee were not yet there on Tuesday evening.
While most Budget Committee Republicans are onboard with the proposal, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (Kan.) was the first Republican to say he would vote against the measure and Reps. Todd Akin (Mo.) and Justin Amash (Mich.) were still undecided.
“It’s just another promise that I’m afraid will be broken,” Huelskamp said Tuesday at a Heritage Foundation event. “It’s a big step forward. But in my opinion, it’s not the big leap America so desperately needs.”
Amash said he has issues with the way the budget deals with sequestration.
Ryan’s plan would delay the $110 billion in cuts mandated by sequestration in fiscal 2013, offering just about $18.3 billion in cuts instead.
“I want to make sure we follow through with commitments that were made under the Budget Control Act,” Amash said. “It’s making sure that we put forth something that’s credible, that reflects the commitments we’ve made to the American people by law.”
Akin had other issues with defense cuts, according to his staff.
Adding to the fray, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who was expected to vote for the resolution, will miss the committee vote because of a district event.
If Ryan cannot pass the measure in committee, he could tinker with it, but doing so could risk alienating others.
Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), for instance, said he does not approve of the budget’s $1.028 trillion spending cap but will vote for it because he agrees with Ryan’s method of alleviating the sequester’s scheduled cuts to defense. “It would be unfortunate if someone tried to undo it or push it too much one way or the other,” Cole said. “We should basically vote like a team and recognize that this is a compromise.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.