Senior Republican members of the House Appropriations Committee are upset that 101 Republicans voted against a spending bill last week. So they are urging House Speaker John Boehner and the rest of the House leadership to act forcefully to bring the Republican caucus into line, The Hill
Among Republicans voting against the “minibus” spending bill for the Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, and Housing departments were Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling and Policy Chairman Tom Price. The proposal passed with the support of 165 Democrats and 133 Republicans.
“When I see guys at the deputy whip table not voting for it, how about a little discipline around here? When the Democrats put more votes on the floor for an agreement than we do, and we’re in the majority?” a GOP congressman told The Hill.
Given that Democratic votes were essential to pass that bill, Democrats will hold the upper hand in negotiations over the year-end omnibus spending bill, unless Boehner pulls the wayward Republicans back into the fold, the appropriations members worry.
“Nobody gives their votes away here for free around here. It just strengthens the Democrats in every negotiation going forward,” a GOP congressman told The Hill. “We’ve got some people who need to learn Politics 101. It either hasn’t been explained to them or they haven’t felt the need to play team ball. We don’t discipline much around here anymore.”
The Appropriations Subcommittee chairmen, known as “cardinals,” met the day after the minibus vote to make sure committee Chairman Hal Rogers expresses their feelings to Boehner in no uncertain terms.
“Hensarling votes against it, Price votes against it, two deputy whips vote against it, 101 Republicans. I mean, that’s not [Reps.] Jeff Flake [R-Ariz.] and Ron Paul [R-Texas] . . . and the leadership’s view is, ‘so what? We’ve got 218 with the Dems.’ Well, that’s not healthy,” a cardinal told The Hill.
It’s not clear how much leverage the House Republican leadership has. Boehner had limited success ordering the caucus to toe the line on a debt-limit bill during the summer. And he needed Democratic support to pass a bill preventing a government shutdown in the spring.
Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., is worried about the implications for the omnibus spending bill. “As we negotiated these last three bills, we went into it with a fairly strong position, and it was really House Republicans and Senate Democrats that drove the train,” he told The Hill.
“Now it’s going to be House Democrats at the table in a major way because we have to have their votes to pass the bill. They know that, and we know that.”
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