CQ TODAY ONLINE NEWS
July 18, 2012 – 10:54 p.m.
Some in GOP Say Delay Budget Fight
By Kerry Young, CQ Staff
Several congressional Republicans are calling for party leaders to seek a stopgap funding resolution for the next fiscal year that would delay final decisions on fiscal 2013 spending until the next Congress, betting that November’s elections will give them greater power to work their will.
The demand comes as GOP leaders consider the terms for the next potential battle over spending, as Congress must clear a continuing resolution (CR) by the end of September.
In a letter signed by 20 members of the House and Senate, including several leaders of the GOP’s conservative wing, and circulated by Sen.
“Conservatives might begrudgingly accept a slightly higher top line if it gets the CR extended into next year and avoids the need for a lame-duck session,” a House GOP aide said.
But Democrats may balk at such a delay, and leaders in both chambers are looking toward enacting a long-term CR without bringing the nation to the brink of a government shutdown, as happened in 2011.
“Let’s hope we can come together,” said
GOP House leaders have been looking at how long to extend the CR, with a December expiration date among the possibilities, another House aide said.
No firm decisions are expected before September, despite the public push from conservatives in both chambers to get the House to act on it within the next few weeks. The group of 11 senators and nine members of the House sent their letter on Wednesday to Speaker
This would remove some political pressure — the threat of a government shutdown around Christmas — that could otherwise push lawmakers into making painful decisions on the looming automatic spending cuts and tax increases slated to hit in January unless Congress acts to stop them, the Republican signers of the letter said.
“The only way to protect the taxpayers from this premeditated mugging is for the House to pass, before the August recess, a fiscally responsible continuing resolution to extend federal operations well into the new year,” the letter said.
“Then, Senate Republicans can force a vote on the CR, forcing Democrats to explain — to the American people — why they are seeking a government shutdown crisis. Taking the threat of a government shutdown off the table will allow a serious debate about tax and spending policy before the elections.”
The letter doesn’t spell out exactly what would constitute a “fiscally responsible” level of funding for the CR, which will be needed when fiscal 2013 begins on Oct. 1.
Levels at Issue
Some in GOP Say Delay Budget Fight
Besides DeMint, Senate signers included
If GOP leaders consider these lawmakers’ request for quick action on a CR, they likely would have to count on some conservatives supporting spending set at this year’s $1.043 trillion level of discretionary spending. Senate Democrats almost certainly would reject a measure that elects instead to use the House-passed budget’s $1.028 trillion cap on fiscal 2013 spending. They instead are pushing to maintain the $1.047 trillion limit set in the 2011 debt-limit law (PL 112-25).
Boehner likely would attract few Democrats for a CR that extends beyond December. That would leave him depending on his own caucus, including conservatives who have pressed for even lower spending levels, to pass it.
That challenge was evident in a separate letter signed by 127 House Republicans, including Jordan, sent to House leaders Wednesday calling for them not to advance any legislation that includes funds to implement the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148, PL 111-152).
Jordan was also among those who signed the letter calling for an early vote on a continuing resolution.