Washington Examiner: GOP now battling its own right wing over budget

This article appeared in The Washington Examiner on March 14, 2011.

GOP now battling its own right wing over budget
By Susan Ferrechio

No closer to a deal with Democrats on a long-term budget, House Republican leaders on Monday started losing the support of their own conservative members for a three-week funding measure needed to stave off a government shutdown and give the two parties time to work out that long-term spending plan.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who heads the Republican Study Committee, a caucus of conservative GOP House members, announced Monday he would not back the latest stopgap plan to keep the government operating.

It would be the second short-term budget bill Congress took up this month after passing a two-week funding measure March 1.

Jordan’s announcement came after Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican and Tea Party favorite from Florida, said he would reject the plan even though it cuts $6 billion in spending.

Rubio wrote on the Republican Web site RedState that he would not support the proposed three-week budget because it “does not fundamentally change the behavior that has gotten us into this mess to begin with.”

Rubio called the series of short terms bills “an absurd pattern” and said the United States “can no longer afford to nickel-and-dime our way out of the dangerous debt America has amassed.”

Jordan echoed Rubio’s feelings, saying the short-term plan doesn’t do enough to reduce the nation’s $1.3 trillion deficit and $14 trillion debt.

“We must do more than cut spending in bite-sized pieces,” Jordan said.

As of Monday, a handful of other GOP House members said they also will vote against the short-term measure, but that number is likely to grow as conservative Republicans, particularly those backed by the Tea Party, follow the lead of Rubio and Jordan.

Republicans are being persuaded to vote against the bill by a growing number of conservative groups who have come out against it because of the small spending cuts and because it will exclude a number of social policy provisions such as one that would strip funding for the health care reform bill and another that would defund Planned Parenthood.

The groups include Club for Growth, the Heritage Foundation and the Susan B. Anthony List, which opposes abortion.

Conservative Republicans favor a bill that the GOP pushed through the House last month that would have funded the federal government through September, the end of the current fiscal year. The legislation cut $61.5 billion in spending and included many of the social policy provisions sought by conservatives. But Senate Democrats, with a four-seat majority, easily defeated the bill.

Republican leaders are blaming Democrats for refusing to accept deep cuts or pass their own plan in the Senate, but they also say they are at a loss for how to reach a compromise with the Democrats.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said he hopes the short-term funding measure the House takes up this week will be the last stopgap plan. But when asked whether he would refuse to put forward additional stopgap measures, he said, “How can anybody be definitive here?”

Share this article: