House Majority Leader Eric Cantor today dismissed the demands of some conservatives that the GOP use a looming short-term spending bill to resume its months-long fight with Democrats over spending levels.
The Virginia Republican said that while he and other Republicans will continue to seek cuts to the federal budget, they will stick to the debt deal with the White House that sets spending at a higher level than the GOP’s budget.
“I am supportive of a [continuing resolution] being written at that level,” Cantor said this afternoon.
The reason for agreeing to a spending level higher than that proposed in Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) plan is simple, according to Cantor.
“The risk of bringing about brinkmanship or another shutdown [fight] would not be helpful,” Cantor said, insisting that Republicans by and large support addressing the CR in a manner “without there having to be another potential for shutdown and [instead] maintain our focus” on jobs.
Cantor’s recommitment to the debt deal comes as a small but vocal group of conservatives in the House has begun a push to resume the bitter war with President Barack Obama and Democrats over the size of the federal budget.
These conservatives insist that the debt deal levels should be seen only as a ceiling for spending in the CR and have urged leadership to stick to Ryan’s levels.
But spending fights have consumed the House for the last eight months and leaders — as well as most of the rank and file — are eager to move on.
At this point, it does not appear that conservative opposition to a CR set at the debt deal’s levels will threaten the CR. While hardliners will likely vote against it, leadership has not been able to count on their support for the debt deal or other measures this year. Additionally, leadership aides said that even some members who voted against the debt deal have indicated they do not want another spending fight right now.
Republicans are expected to introduce a CR late this week or early next week to fund the government through November.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.