Now that House Republicans have passed a bill to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the month, Rep. Tom Price of Georgia tells Newsmax TV that the onus now is on President Barack Obama and the Democrats.
“I just wish he would encourage Senate Democrats to get something done,” the five-term Republican tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview. “No budget in nearly four years. They refuse to take up the positive legislation that the House sends their way. They refuse to have their folks vote on anything.
“I just wish the president would have the Senate Democrats actually get to work — and I wish the president would come back to Washington and actually get back to work himself, as opposed to continue to give political demagoguery speeches.”
Earlier on Wednesday, the House of Representatives approved a $982 billion stop-gap measure that would keep the federal government financed through the end of the fiscal year — averting a potential government shutdown when the continuing resolution expires on March 27.
The House passed the measure on a 267-to-151 vote — and 137 Democrats voted against it. The legislation keeps post-sequestration spending levels but gives more flexibility to the defense and veterans departments as they adjust to the $85 billion in sequester cuts that took effect on March 1.
Price, vice chairman of the House Budget Committee, called the continuing resolution the next step in trying to force the Senate to pass a budget under the GOP’s “No Budget, No Pay” bill that was passed in February.
“The second step was to allow the sequester reduction, the spending reductions to go into place,” Price tells Newsmax. “We don’t think that across-the-board reductions are wise, but because the Senate Democrats refused to act and the president refused to put anything specific out there for a solution — we did twice last year — it was their turn, and they refused to do so.
“This is now the continuing resolution, this funds the government at those spending-reduction levels, those sequester levels. For the first time since World War II, this is the largest reduction in real spending — real spending for the first time since World War II.
“This is a positive step in the right direction, the next step is our budget that we’ll have in committee next week — and finally the battle on the debt ceiling in May,” Price says.
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And for Republicans to prevail in those debt-ceiling talks, they must present a united front.
“The more unified that House Republicans are, the more likely it is that the president recognizes that he’s got to come to the table — that he can’t just sit out there and play political games and gives speeches,” Price, who also is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, tells Newsmax. “That’s what we’re hoping, and at some point I hope he wakes up and recognizes that.”
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