Rep. Hal Rogers of Kentucky charged on Wednesday that he was “extremely disappointed” that his fellow Republicans were not supporting the deep spending cuts sought in the budget proposal by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan.
“With this action, the House has declined to proceed on the implementation of the very budget it adopted just three months ago,” Rogers, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said in a statement published by The Hill.
Rogers was referring to the GOP leadership’s decision earlier on Wednesday to pull the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development spending bill from the floor.
“Thus, I believe that the House has made its choice: sequestration — and its unrealistic and ill-conceived discretionary cuts — must be brought to an end," Rogers continued. "And, it is also clear that the higher funding levels advocated by the Senate are also simply not achievable in this Congress.”
GOP leaders said they simply ran out of time, but Rogers disagreed, the Hill reports.
He noted that a vote on the measure was scrapped because leaders said they lacked the votes to support the cuts he was directed to write. He accused Republicans of abandoning the budget plan by Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee.
Rogers called for a bipartisan deal that would replace the sequester with something that fell between the House budget and Senate spending measures that he said were too costly to pass the lower chamber.
The office of Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia cited said the transportation bill was pulled because of the House’s busy schedule this week. But with the chamber scheduled to leave for its August recess on Friday, it likely will not come up again until the fall — if at all, the Hill reports.
“The prospects for passing this bill in September are bleak at best, given the vote count on passage that was apparent this afternoon,” Rogers said.
Responding to Rogers’ statement, Cantor said the “larger problem” for Republicans is the inaction on reforming entitlement programs, an issue that is not part of appropriations bills but remained at the heart of the Ryan budget, the Hill reports.
“I can’t speak to his statement, but look, we have a larger problem here,” Cantor told the Hill. “The larger problem is we haven’t addressed what’s truly driving our deficit. That is the context within which I think members are looking at appropriations bills and the impact of the sequester.”
The majority leader called on President Barack Obama to work with Republicans on entitlement reform, adding that he was still hoping that the House would still be able to pass appropriation bills after the August recess.
Meanwhile, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California denied Rogers' claim that Republicans lacked the votes for the transportation bill.
“We just don’t have enough time,” he told the Hill.
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