A Budding Republican Budget Revolt in the Senate

by Ramesh Ponnuru

The House voted to lift the debt ceiling temporarily in return for Senate passage of a budget. The House bill lifted the ceiling and also stipulated that senators will not be paid unless they fulfill their budget-law obligations.

Now I’m hearing that Senate Republicans may not be going along with this bill because it lacks spending cuts. The Senate has just rejected two amendments by Senator Rob Portman, which will make Republicans more reluctant to support the bill. (Portman’s amendments would have made it harder for the Congress to raise the debt limit without spending cuts and provided that failure to pass appropriations bills would result in lower spending rather than a government shutdown.)

House Republicans generally think of themselves, and speak of themselves, as to the right of their Senate colleagues. Most House Republicans voted against the fiscal-cliff deal while most Senate Republicans voted for it. This time, Senate Republicans, who do not feel that they have any responsibility for the House Republicans’ debt-limit gambit, may reverse these roles.

Among the Republicans who are considering no votes, I hear, are John Cornyn of Texas (the second-ranking Senate Republican) and even Mitch McConnell (the first-).

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