Boehner, Cantor Split on Conservative GOP Budget Plan

Posted April 2, 2009 at 4:09pm

Updated: 7 p.m.

House Republican leaders on Thursday were split in their votes on a GOP budget proposal, making it the second time in recent weeks that party leaders were not on the same page on a key vote.

During Thursday’s all-day budget debate, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) voted against a budget proposal offered by the conservative Republican Study Committee. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.), an RSC member and No. 2 GOP leader, voted for the plan.

Cantor, who many view as angling to one day succeed Boehner as leader, dismissed the suggestion that it looked bad for GOP leaders to vote differently on the bills.

“Listen, our Conference is about ideas. We are really trying to put ideas out there in support of trying to instill a sense of responsible leadership in this town. The RSC budget was just another attempt to try and do that,— Cantor said.

He emphasized that he and Boehner would be “together advocating forcefully— for the broader GOP proposal being offered later in the day by Budget ranking member Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

“We are all trying to do the same thing, which is provide a solution to a very tough economic situation that we’re in. There are various ways we can do that,— Cantor said.

Boehner and Cantor were divided on another key vote two weeks ago, and each took half of their party with them. On a bill to tax executive bonuses at firms that received federal bailout funds, Boehner voted no, while Cantor voted in favor.

Senior GOP aides were quick to point out that Democratic leaders weren’t voting together on their party’s budget proposals either.

A vote on a budget plan put forward by Progressive Caucus leaders drew opposition from House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (Conn.), while House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and House Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Xavier Becerra (Calif.) voted for it.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) did not vote on the proposal.