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Budget Chaos Gets Even More Messy for Republicans

March 9, 2016

Congressional Republicans remain in major disagreement over how to proceed with their budget chaos – and it’s only looking uglier for Speaker Ryan and his extremist GOP Conference that wants to slash key investments.  From Washington Post:

Senate tired of waiting on the House to figure out its budget mess

The Senate has a message for the House: We already agreed we’re not cutting spending this year, get over it.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that the upper chamber plans to soon begin writing spending bills based on a bipartisan budget agreement reached in December that would boost spending this year by $30 billion.  House conservatives are pushing their leaders to abandon that deal, which would greatly complicate the push by McConnell and Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) to pass as many of the 12 annual spending bills as possible this year ahead of the November elections.

Now, Senate Republicans’ patience is running thin with their House colleagues.

“We will be using the top line that was agreed to last year in order to move forward on the Senate appropriations bills,” McConnell told reporters.

McConnell’s decision means that the House will have to accept the terms of the 2015 budget agreement or start work on spending bills with a lower overall funding cap — a move that all but ensures another round of messy negotiations later this year over how to keep the government funded.

House Republican leaders have been at odds for weeks with conservatives who want to either roll back the spending increases or force cuts to mandatory programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security to offset the cost of the funding boost for the annual appropriations bills.  What began as a protest from a small group of hardliners developed in recent weeks into as many as 200 Republicans from the House Freedom Caucus and Republican Study Committee saying they refuse to back a budget without cuts.

Conservatives rejected a proposal from House leaders last week to set up a two-step process where members would vote to cut mandatory spending as a stand-alone bill before voting on a budget blueprint that would have included the $30 billion in new spending.

The Republican budget chaos is bound to get worse because, as The Huffington Post notes, Speaker Ryan and the GOP leadership are failing to rally Members behind their callous budget blueprint:

There’s still a good deal of speculation as to whether House Republicans have the votes to adopt the budget

…if the House is unable to move forward with the Price plan, they could abandon doing a budget (and appropriations bills) altogether…

And perhaps Roll Call said it best: “Republicans are not in good position to hold it together…”