House Republicans exited a last-minute Conference meeting Thursday saying they have bridged a schism over spending and are united in moving forward with a measure to keep the government funded for the remainder of the fiscal year.
Conservative Members and many of the freshmen had balked at the original bill because it did not cap spending at the level that Republicans had promised during the 2010 midterm elections. Specifics of a compromise package have not yet been released, but Majority Leader Eric Cantor said House Republicans would deliver on their campaign pledge.
The majority is taking its cue from constituents, the Virginia Republican said.
“We are doing what every other American expects to have to do in their households and their businesses, and that’s to begin a path of living within our means,” he said. “The American people sent us here to do something about jobs and the economy.”
Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, who held a meeting Thursday with freshmen to discuss the spending measure, said that making spending cuts are a tough but necessary step forward. The California Republican said that passing the legislation is in keeping with Republicans’ campaign pledge.
“I give a lot of credit to the 87 new freshmen,” McCarthy said. “This is a tough move forward, but it is a move that America needs to do. This is the first step on a long path of turning this country around.”
Several Republican lawmakers leaving the meeting joined their leadership in saying that the party is in agreement on moving forward.
Rep. Joe Barton described the Conference meeting as a “big hug.” The Texas Republican said that he supports the package and that its creators have “done a great job.”
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart said the mood of House Republicans was “enthusiastic” and “supportive.”
“We’re all together,” said the Florida Republican, who is a member of the Appropriations Committee.
Work remains on the details, “but that’s all good stuff,” Rep. Steve King said.
The Iowa Republican has proposed defunding the health care overhaul, and he is pushing leaders to write the language into the bill or to make it in order as an amendment. King said he made the case for his proposal in Thursday night’s closed-door session, telling his colleagues that it would save $105.5 billion over 10 years.
“I was not met with a rapt standing ovation,” King said. “I have a little more work to do — and it looks like I might have the weekend to do it. ... I’m going to seek to convince them to write it into the bill.”
Leaders from military and veterans service organizations joined Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Kelly Ayotte , R-N.H., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., at a press conference to urge the Senate to replace a provision in the budget proposal that cuts retirement benefits for veterans. Wicker, Ayotee, and Graham earlier called for a bipartisan solution to replace the $6.3 billion in cuts to military retiree benefits.
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.