Moderates, Conservatives Call for Changes to House Bill
House Republicans on Thursday began discussions about the fiscal year 2007 House budget resolution, with both moderates and conservatives "demanding concessions before they will agree" to vote in favor of the resolution next week, CQ Today reports (Dennis, CQ Today, 3/30).
The House budget resolution, approved on Wednesday by the House Budget Committee, includes $6.8 billion in spending reductions for entitlement programs but excludes reductions for Medicare and Medicaid. In addition, the House budget resolution includes an $873 billion cap on discretionary spending requested by President Bush.
Under the discretionary spending cap, spending for health and other nonsecurity programs would remain at about FY 2006 levels (California Healthline, 3/30).
Reps. Michael Castle (R-Del.) and Nancy Johnson (R-Conn.) and other moderate Republicans have called for an increase in the discretionary spending cap to ensure that health and other nonsecurity programs receive additional funds (CQ Today, 3/30).
House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said that he has discussed the issue with Johnson and that he believes he can address the concerns raised by moderates without an increase in the discretionary spending cap (Cohn, CongressDaily, 3/30). His plan to address the concerns raised by moderate Republicans "is unclear, but in the past funds have been shifted from defense and foreign affairs discretionary accounts to domestic programs to assuage moderates," CQ Today reports (CQ Today, 3/30).
However, House Appropriations Committee Chair Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) said that he would not support such a plan until the Iraq war ends (CongressDaily, 3/30).
Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), chair of the Republican Study Committee, told House Republican leaders that conservatives would not support the House budget resolution without stronger budget enforcement mechanisms. Pence also "warned leaders against adding spending on the House floor to appease GOP moderates," CQ Today reports (CQ Today, 3/30).
Boehner in a closed meeting with House Republicans on Wednesday "stressed the need for all GOP lawmakers to come together and support the budget once it's completed, even if they didn't get all the provisions they wanted" because the House budget resolution "will attract no Democratic votes and would need near-unanimous Republican support to pass," Roll Call reports (Yachnin, Roll Call, 3/30).
However, House Republicans this week "were privately expressing doubts the measure will even get to conference" with the Senate, which earlier this month approved a resolution with "far more spending," CongressDaily reports (Cohn, CongressDaily, 3/31).
Castle said, "There are about five or six people I've talked to who aren't voting for anything."
Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) said, "I don't think they have the votes yet" (CongressDaily, 3/30).