The hard line GOP House Speaker John Boehner has taken in the impasse with Democrats over the federal budget appears not to be hard enough for some prominent congressional Republicans.
With a deadline looming to agree to a federal budget by Friday, or face a government shutdown, Boehner proposed new legislation that would keep the government running an additional three weeks, and slash an additional $6 billion from federal spending.
The House last month approved a spending bill to keep the federal government running through September, but at a cost of nearly $100 billion in cuts that President Obama and other Democrats object to. Senate Democrats have said that the GOP level of cuts could endanger the fragile U.S. economy and site an independent study that says the Republican plan could cause 700,000 Americans to lose their jobs.
Democrats have put forward their own proposed cuts, and want to negotiate a final bill with Republicans.
The additional three weeks in the Boehner proposal could give House Republicans, Senate Democrats, and the Obama administration time to hammer out such a longer-term funding bill. But Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and GOP Rep. Jim Jordan, head of the influential Republican Study Committee, reportedly oppose Boehner’s new stopgap measure. Rubio, particularly, was elected last year with a groundswell of tea party support.
Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, a senior member of the Senate Democrats’ leadership team, blasted Rubio and Jordan for their opposition.
“We agree that running the government two weeks at a time is not good for anyone, but it is the far right that is preventing any compromise on a long-term budget. These Republicans’ decisions to abandon the three-week proposal negotiated by their own party’s leadership suggests that Tea Party lawmakers are unwilling to accept anything short of the extreme cuts in the House budget, even if it risks a shutdown,” Schumer says. “This is a bad omen that shows how difficult it will be for Speaker Boehner to bring the Tea Party along for any long-term compromise. It is becoming clear that the path to a bipartisan budget deal may not go through the Tea Party at all. In order to avert a shutdown, Speaker Boehner should consider leaving the Tea Party behind and instead seek a consensus in the House among moderate Republicans and a group of Democrats.”
Scott Nance is the publisher of the news site The Washington Current, formerly known as On The Hill. He has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.