The fine print on the $38 billion worth of spending cuts in the budget deal certainly doesn’t look good, but that doesn’t mean a sudden, mass Republican defection is in the offing, as the GOP hopes to quickly shift the focus to the upcoming vote to raise the debt ceiling.
At a session with reporters Tuesday afternoon, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) said the continuing resolution — negotiated by the White House, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.), and House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio), and drafted by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees — “reflects the best deal we could’ve gotten.”
“Speaker Boehner went in against all odds and actually got the president, the vice president, and Harry Reid in the senate to go along with spending cuts,” he said. “Let’s compare that to where they were in the beginning of this Congress — they were for zero spending cuts.”
There are expected to be a number of GOP defections on the vote to pass the CR, planned for Thursday. Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Ohio), chairman of the Republican Study Committee, told NRO immediately after the deal was announced that he would vote against it. “While I respect that some of my Republican colleagues will ultimately support this spending deal, I believe voters are asking us to set our sights higher,” Jordan said in a statement released Tuesday morning.
Freshman Rep. Tom Graves (R., Ga.) also announced he would be voting no Tuesday. “[T]he least Washington can do is tighten [its] belt, and this [CR] is the equivalent of just sucking in your gut at a family photo, you’re not changing anything you’re just moving it around,” he told Fox Business Network. “John Boehner battled extremely hard for the American people through those negotiations and I think he came out doing the best he could, but the American people want more, and they want the Democrats to understand the message and that is: We cannot continue spending money that we don’t have.”
Cantor acknowledge this sentiment within the caucus, but expressed confidence that the bill would pass. “Listen, I know that Jim Jordan and others are frustrated. I’m frustrated too,” Cantor said. “The House position was $61 billion, but this is the best deal we could have gotten given the situation that we were served up.”
The majority leader dodged question about whether or not Republicans would have to rely on Democratic votes to pass the CR. “We certainly will always ask for Democratic support,” he said, adding that House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) had indicated that there was “strong Republican support” for passage.
Earlier today, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) declined to indicate whether any Democrats would ultimately support the CR. A senior GOP aide tells NRO that the likely outcome will look similar to the somewhat controversial vote on a recent short-term CR, where 54 Republicans defected but the measure passed with the help of 85 Democrats. “We’re all eager to move on to the debt limit,” the aide said.
Cantor told reporters that Republicans intend to “put the White House on notice” that they would not support an increase to the debt limit without “guarantees in place to make sure spending doesn’t get out of control,” for example: spending caps (mandatory and discretionary), a balanced-budget amendment, tax reform, entitlement reform, and other elements of Paul Ryan’s 2012 budget. “All kinds of considerations” are on the table, he said.