House GOP Leadership Confident of Passing Budget

Image: House GOP Leadership Confident of Passing Budget From left: House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy

Monday, 07 Apr 2014 09:04 AM

By Melanie Batley

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House Republican leaders are confident they will pass the 2015 budget proposal released last week by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, despite threats by conservatives to vote against it.

According to Politico, multiple senior GOP lawmakers and aides believe they will have the votes for passage by the end of the week, even without the support of three Georgia House Republicans who are locked in a primary battle for the Senate.

"Yeah, we're good," Ryan, the chairman of the Budget Committee and former GOP vice presidential nominee, said Friday, according to Politico.

A scuffle broke out in the party last week after a number of conservative lawmakers took issue with the decision to pass a controversial "doc fix" bill within committee using a voice vote instead of putting the measure up for a floor vote.

The legislation, which is now part of the 1,000 page spending bill, sets reimbursement rates for physicians who serve Medicare patients.

Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy spent much of last week doing damage control with phone calls and one-on-one meetings with members to make sure the party would have the slim majority needed to get it through the chamber without Democratic support.

"I predict a win," McCarthy told Politico.

Last year, 10 Republicans voted against the Ryan budget which passed by just a seven-vote margin. At the moment, there are 233 Republicans in the House and 217 votes will be needed to pass the resolution.

The budget proposals would cut $5 trillion in federal spending over the next ten years, much of which will come from cuts to Obamacare, and balance the budget by 2024. 

In addition to the discontent over the "doc fix," many conservatives believe the bill doesn't go far enough. But despite the grumbling and threats to oppose it, conservatives are aware of the political necessity of passing the bill in an election year.

"I'd like to have it balanced in nine instead of 10 [years], because that's what we said last year," Iowa Rep. Steve King told Politico. "But it's a lot better than 26 years, and so I recognize Republicans need to pass a budget. You can't bring it to the floor and let it fail. We'd hand this agenda to the other side." King said he is still undecided about the bill.

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