Budget Deal Clears the House

Rep. Paul Ryan
©2013 Richard A. Bloom
Tim Alberta and Sarah Mimms
Dec. 12, 2013, 1:26 p.m.

After 24 hours of open war­fare, an over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of House Re­pub­lic­ans lined up be­hind their lead­ers Thursday night to ap­prove a budget plan that has in­furi­ated the party’s con­ser­vat­ive base.

The House passed a two-year budget bill, 332-94, that if it be­comes law will fund the gov­ern­ment through Oc­to­ber 2015 and avoid an­oth­er gov­ern­ment shut­down in Janu­ary.

The bill rep­res­ents a small deal hashed out over months by Rep. Paul Ry­an and Sen. Patty Mur­ray, and it leaves many of the big ques­tions about fu­ture spend­ing — in­clud­ing en­ti­tle­ment and tax re­form — for an­oth­er day.

It re­ceived some op­pos­i­tion in both parties, with Demo­crats com­plain­ing that it will not ex­tend long-term un­em­ploy­ment in­sur­ance be­ne­fits — set to ex­pire on Dec. 28 — and Re­pub­lic­ans con­cerned about eas­ing se­quest­ra­tion while rais­ing rev­en­ues. Sev­er­al ma­jor con­ser­vat­ive groups came out against the meas­ure, but the op­pos­i­tion had little im­pact. The bill passed with 169 Re­pub­lic­ans and 163 Demo­crats vot­ing for the meas­ure; 62 Re­pub­lic­ans and 32 Demo­crats op­posed it.

“It was much high­er than I ex­pec­ted, I was very pleas­antly sur­prised,” Ry­an said of the vote. “I think people are hungry to do things around here … I got so many of my col­leagues say­ing thank you for bring­ing some nor­malcy back to this place. I’m very pleased about that.”

One fas­cin­at­ing as­pect of the vote was an un­usu­al split among the House’s most con­ser­vat­ive mem­bers.

Of the five-mem­ber “Jedi Coun­cil” group that worked to bridge the gap earli­er this year between House Speak­er John Boehner and House con­ser­vat­ives, three voted for the budget pro­pos­al and two voted against.

Reps. Tom Price and Jeb Hensarling, both former chair­men of the Re­pub­lic­an Study Com­mit­tee, joined Ry­an in ap­prov­ing the meas­ure. Rep. Jim Jordan and cur­rent RSC Chair­man Steve Scal­ise op­posed the deal.

Scal­ise had been un­de­cided on the pro­pos­al since its un­veil­ing, and re­fused to com­ment on which way he was lean­ing be­fore the vote. But after he fired the RSC’s long­time ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or, Paul Tell­er, on Wed­nes­day — a move that was heav­ily cri­ti­cized by out­side groups — Scal­ise would have en­dured even more right-wing op­pos­i­tion had he voted in fa­vor of the deal.

One of the biggest sur­prises of the night came when Rep. Tom Graves, a lead­ing House con­ser­vat­ive who was the ar­chi­tect of the House GOP’s strategy to de­fund Obama­care, voted for the budget com­prom­ise. Graves, who sits on the Ap­pro­pri­ations Com­mit­tee, had pre­vi­ously ex­pressed a de­sire to re­turn to “reg­u­lar or­der” in which ap­pro­pri­at­ors write spend­ing pack­ages. Graves was greeted with a hearty round of hand­shakes from his col­leagues after re­gis­ter­ing his vote.

Else­where, some oth­er pop­u­lar House con­ser­vat­ives who were pre­vi­ously un­de­cided wound up split­ting on the vote. Rep. Dav­id Sch­weikert, who sports a per­fect 100 per­cent on Her­it­age Ac­tion’s le­gis­lat­ive score­card, kept his per­fec­tion in­tact by op­pos­ing the meas­ure. On the flip side, Rep. Marlin Stutz­man, viewed as a po­ten­tial suc­cessor to Scal­ise at the RSC, voted in fa­vor of the budget deal.

The bill sets top-line fund­ing levels at $1.012 tril­lion for fisc­al 2014 and $1.014 tril­lion for fisc­al 2015, while provid­ing $63 bil­lion in se­quester re­lief over two years, paid for through a com­bin­a­tion of fees and man­dat­ory sav­ings. The deal will also re­duce the de­fi­cit by $28 bil­lion over the next 10 years.

The bill in­cludes an amend­ment that will ex­tend the “doc fix” for­mula, which is used to re­im­burse doc­tors un­der Medi­care, for three months, while con­gres­sion­al ne­go­ti­at­ors con­tin­ue to haggle over a long-term solu­tion.

The bill now heads to the Sen­ate, where pas­sage is ex­pec­ted but not as­sured. Demo­crats will need five Re­pub­lic­ans to join them in vot­ing for clo­ture to get the bill to the floor, and they are ex­pec­ted to get them, though many Re­pub­lic­an sen­at­ors are stay­ing tight-lipped about wheth­er they will back the budget deal. The clo­ture vote could come as early as Monday, with a fi­nal vote Tues­day.

The budget deal is among the fi­nal votes the House plans to con­sider be­fore law­makers head home for the hol­i­days. Though the Sen­ate will re­main in next week, the House will re­turn on Jan. 7.

Elahe IzadiBilly House contributed to this article.
MOST READ
What We're Following See More »
FIRST WOMAN NOMINATED BY MAJOR PARTY
Hillary Clinton Accepts the Democratic Nomination for President
4 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"It is with humility, determination, and boundless confidence in America’s promise that I accept your nomination for president," said Hillary Clinton in becoming the first woman to accept a nomination for president from a major party. Clinton gave a wide-ranging address, both criticizing Donald Trump and speaking of what she has done in the past and hopes to do in the future. "He's taken the Republican party a long way, from morning in America to midnight in America," Clinton said of Trump. However, most of her speech focused instead on the work she has done and the work she hopes to do as president. "I will be a president of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. For the struggling, the striving, the successful," she said. "For those who vote for me and for those who don't. For all Americans together."

COUNTER-CHANTS AT THE READY
Protesters Make Good on Threat to Disrupt Speech
5 hours ago
THE LATEST

Supporters of Bernie Sanders promised to walk out, turn their backs, or disrupt Hillary Clinton's speech tonight, and they made good immediately, with an outburst almost as soon as Clinton began her speech. But her supporters, armed with a handy counter-chant cheat sheet distributed by the campaign, immediately began drowning them out with chants of "Hillary, Hillary!"

SUFFOLK POLL
New Survey Shows Clinton Up 9 in Pennsylvania
13 hours ago
THE LATEST

If a new poll is to be believed, Hillary Clinton has a big lead in the all-important swing state of Pennsylvania. A new Suffolk University survey shows her ahead of Donald Trump, 50%-41%. In a four-way race, she maintains her nine-point lead, 46%-37%. "Pennsylvania has voted Democratic in the past six presidential elections, going back to Bill Clinton’s first win in 1992. Yet it is a rust belt state that could be in play, as indicated by recent general-election polling showing a close race."

Source:
THREE NIGHTS RUNNING
Democrats Beat Republicans in Convention Ratings So Far
14 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Wednesday was the third night in a row that the Democratic convention enjoyed a ratings win over the Republican convention last week. Which might have prompted a fundraising email from Donald Trump exhorting supporters not to watch. "Unless you want to be lied to, belittled, and attacked for your beliefs, don't watch Hillary's DNC speech tonight," the email read. "Instead, help Donald Trump hold her accountable, call out her lies and fight back against her nasty attacks."

Source:
SHIFT FROM ROMNEY’S NUMBERS
Catholics, Highly Educated Moving Toward Dems
17 hours ago
THE LATEST

Catholics who attend mass at least weekly have increased their support of the Democratic nominee by 22 points, relative to 2012, when devout Catholics backed Mitt Romney. Meanwhile, a Morning Consult poll shows that those voters with advanced degrees prefer Hillary Clinton, 51%-34%. Which, we suppose, makes the ideal Clinton voter a Catholic with a PhD in divinity.

×