Conservatives scoff at Boehner deal. http://tiny.iavian.net/3jdz
Conservatives scoff at Boehner deal
The “Hell No” caucus is once again causing headaches for Republican leadership.
A cadre of the House’s most conservative members will meet Wednesday morning at the Capitol Hill Club for Rep. Steve King’s regular breakfast to discuss lame duck legislation. Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, who often serves as a de facto spokesman for congressional hardliners, is expected to attend.
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These hard-line Republicans are already expressing their dissatisfaction with the plan outlined by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) during a closed door meeting Tuesday morning. Instead of a spending bill that keeps the government funded through September with a chance to review the the Department of Homeland Security’s funding in March, the lawmakers want to pass a much shorter resolution.
“I think a lot of us, in discussion, we don’t see the purpose of having a long CR. Why not do it the first day we’re in session?” said Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) “I’m not sure it’s going to pass the way they are proposing it. I think it’s likely they are going to have to improve it if they want it to pass.”
These conservatives estimate the number of Republican “no” votes to be near 30 to 40 — enough to derail a vote on the government funding bill if Democrats oppose the measure.
Senate conservatives are beginning to badger House leaders over their plan to fund the government and symbolically disapprove of the president’s immigration action. GOP Sens. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, David Vitter of Louisiana and Mike Lee of Utah all began to blast the House GOP leadership’s plan on Tuesday afternoon, arguing that the House needs to block funding for implementation of Obama’s executive action now, not later.
Lee laid out a detailed road map to taking on the executive action in a statement to Breitbart News, arguing for a short-term continuing resolution that blocks funding for the executive action — the opposite of what Republican leaders in both chambers want.
“The House needs to do the right thing and send over the short term bill with the defund language,” said Lee spokesman Brian Phillips.
It may not have helped matters in conservative circles that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) gave a tepid endorsement of the House leadership’s plan on Tuesday, calling it “unfortunate” that DHS money won’t be included in omnibus but concluding that it would be a “big accomplishment if we can get a bill over here that would fund all the appropriation subcommittees except one.”
Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has largely deferred to the House, declining to say what they should do and emphasizing twice on Tuesday that there will be no shutdown and that he’s likely to support whatever Boehner can pass.
Senate GOP hard-liners, though, think it won’t work.
Asked specifically about the House plan, Sessions replied: “I’m worried that it’s not going to be effective.”
“You just can’t be bobbing and weaving on this,” Sessions told reporters. “This is not a matter to be discussed at some point. It’s just unacceptable aggrandizement of power that Congress has an institutional duty to reject.”
Added Vitter: “Make no mistake, sending a bill to the Senate without first making an attempt to include defund language is telling the American people that you support Obama’s executive amnesty. That would be a slap in the face to the voters who sent a message last month by electing Republican majorities in Congress.”
Missing from this drama, for now, is Cruz, who was central to the movement to defund Obamacare in October 2013, which eventually led to a lengthy government shutdown. On Tuesday, Cruz twice declined to speak about the House’s bill and referred a reporter to his press office, which did not respond to questions.
And across the Rotunda, House conservatives are beginning to converge around the idea that a shorter-term CR that strictly limited funds to the Department of Homeland Security — the agency tasked with implementing Obama’s immigration executive actions.
“For me, something that is shorter term allows us to hopefully deal with a Senate that is more negotiable. I’m probably leaning no [on the current House plan],” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.). “I think in terms of the CR omnibus, without a limitation language, there are not enough votes. I’m not on the whip team but listening to a number of my colleagues, there is more than enough concern.”
The atmosphere could be better for Republicans in January. The Senate will then be controlled by the GOP, increasingly the likelihood that any long-term spending legislation passed in the House could be put to a vote in the Senate. Plans floated by conservatives include passing a CR that keeps the government open just until the first week of the next Congress in January.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a leading conservative in the House, said on Tuesday that “the cavalry is coming” and that he preferred to deal with the larger funding issues next year. And outspoken Rep. Tim Huelskamp, who has built a reputation around opposing Republican leadership, also backed a proposal that would only temporarily extend government funding.
“For me, it’s generally in appropriations the shorter the better,” the Kansas Republican said.