Are they gonna put the President’s call for Immigration Reform aside and get in a political fight to make MORE cuts and give MORE money to Defense?
Will they fight to keep the sequester cuts eating away?….and go to the mat to cut entitlments?
Are we gonna be seeing ANOTHER brinkmanship show?
House Republicans are digesting the lessons of the shutdown fight and weighing whether to change their tactics before the next budget battle.
Centrists in the party are signaling the conference may be chastened by the public backlash that accompanied the shutdown and the near debt default. Polls show the party’s popularity has plummeted to historic lows.
But senior members of the party are stoking expectations that the coming House-Senate budget conference could help them win the major cuts to entitlements that they have long sought.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who will co-chair the budget conference, said Wednesday he plans to seek big changes to Medicare and Medicaid.
“I’ve made no secret that I want to get a budget agreement that gets entitlement spending under control, that gets a dent on the debt and enacts pro-growth policies to create jobs. Nothing has changed from my perspective,” Ryan said.
The debt-ceiling deal creates a House-Senate budget conference that is tasked with coming up with a fiscal blueprint by Dec. 13.
That blueprint could replace the sequester cuts, or put in place tax and entitlement changes that smooth the path for a long-term debt ceiling increase after the borrowing limit is hit on Feb. 7.
Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) warned that the budget conference would only be able to replace the sequester cuts to the military if members approach the task with a spirit of compromise.
“It depends on people’s willingness to really work. If it is just go to your corners and throw rocks at each other it won’t accomplish anything,” he said.
McKeon said that he trusts Ryan to prioritize a fight for an increase in defense spending.
“Paul Ryan and the budget did a good job for defense, and he’s very supportive,” he said.
But it remains to be seen how hard of a bargain Republicans will try to drive with Democrats, who are likely to feel emboldened by their victory in the shutdown fight.
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said the budget conference could succeed if the GOP stops making “unrealistic” demands.
“Don’t talk about cutting half the government, or defunding,” he said.