GOP Support for Ryan's Budget Hits a Snag

Image: GOP Support for Ryan's Budget Hits a Snag House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan presides over an April 2 markup session where House Republicans were crafting a budget-balancing plan.

Thursday, 03 Apr 2014 08:45 AM

By Melanie Batley

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House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan unveiled his 2015 budget on Tuesday but a small group of Republicans is now threatening to vote against the package after the leadership pushed through a Medicare reimbursement bill.

According to Politico, the leadership last week passed a "doc fix" bill using a voice vote. The legislation, which is opposed by lawmakers in both parties, determined a set of reimbursement rates for physicians who serve Medicare patients.
 
"The [Medicare reimbursement vote] is part of a whole strategy to lay low and not take any hard positions before the election," Indiana Rep. Marlin Stutzman, who is now skeptical about backing the current budget, told Politico.

"If [the budget] goes up on the board for a vote, I'll look at what I'm voting on, but at the same time… is this going to be the status quo for operations the rest of the summer and up until the election?"

Iowa Rep. Steve King expressed a similar position.

"We cannot function if we are going to allow decisions like that to be made from the top by leadership in consultation with Democrats," he told Politico. "That means the staff of the leadership is more powerful than a member of Congress."

The dispute could threaten to kill Ryan's budget, given that last year's budget passed by just a seven-vote margin, according to Politico.

Technically, the House does not need to pass another budget this year because in December Ryan brokered a bipartisan deal with Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray that set spending levels for two years. But Republicans say budgeting is a central priority of Congress so they pushed forward with a package this year.

Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy have been working this week to limit the fallout of the "doc fix" and shore up support to ensure the budget passes in next week's floor vote. Cantor has met one-on-one with some members, made phone calls to others, and will continue his efforts in the coming days.

Senior Republican sources told Politico they are confident the budget will pass and say they expect that those who are grumbling will vote for the budget anyway.

House Speaker John Boehner told reporters Wednesday that "this is essentially the same budget we've put forward the last four years, updated for the fact that we're into the fourth year of that budget."

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