Senators who may be considering a bid for the White House in 2016 face a dilemma about whether to back the GOP budget when it goes up for a vote Thursday as they look toward the political consequences it could have for them on the campaign trail.
According to The Hill
, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio have all been silent in private meetings about which way they are leaning. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said he intends to vote for it.
"As a matter of fact, they're very quiet in all of our meetings. I think they're trying to figure out where they're going to be," one senator told The Hill.
Every Democrat is expected to vote against it, and any more than three defections on the Republican side would defeat the bill.
Cruz and Paul have not been forthcoming about what amendments they may offer, but their tea party supporters tend to be most concerned with reining in spending and avoiding foreign military intervention in keeping with budget hawks in Congress.
Rubio has filed more than two-dozen amendments, staking out his territory as a defense hawk
, but he has not indicated whether he will vote for the budget itself.
"I understand the argument that it's a vehicle to get to the president's desk a way of repealing Obamacare, but I still have concerns about it," he said, according to The Hill. "We haven't made a final decision and I still want to see how the debate plays out on defense funding."
Senate Republicans are optimistic that the budget bill will pass.
"It seems to me like we're headed in the direction that it will pass," Kansas GOP Sen. Jerry Moran told The Hill. "The conversations revolve around defense and spending, but it seems to me there's a real concerted effort on the part of Republicans to pass a budget and resolve those differences."
"There's a recognition that passing a budget is clearly critical to the rest of the agenda," he added.
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