On the heels of Tuesday evening's announcement
from Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan that they had reached a budget deal for 2014 and 2015, the big question is whether Republicans can muster enough support for the package to pass it through Congress.
Already, some Senate conservatives are moving against the proposal, which Murray and Ryan say would provide sequester relief by increasing spending by $63 billion over the next two years, but offsetting that increase with $86 billion in new spending cuts and revenues over the next decade. For example, Rand Paul:
“Senator Paul will oppose the reported cap busting deal,” Doug Stafford, Paul’s senior adviser, told POLITICO on Wednesday. “He opposes increasing spending and undoing the minimal sequester cuts in current law, which weren’t even close to enough to begin with.”
And Sen. Mike Crapo, the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, said:
“It doesn’t appear to be something I will likely support,” Crapo said. “It’s pretty light on entitlement reform and the entitlement reform that’s done is not structural. It doesn’t do anything to actually change or fix that. We’re looking now to see if it can pass the Congress.”
But even if Senate Republicans don't provide much support for the deal, history suggests it can still pass the Senate because it has the support of Senate leadership and President Obama. The real question is whether Republicans will be able to get it through the House without Democratic help, and whether House Democrats will provide that help if Republicans ask for it.
Yesterday, Ryan said he expected conservatives would support the deal, pointing out that its spending levels are lower than the ones contained in the budget that House Republicans passed last year. And this morning, House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor appeared at a press conference with Ryan to demonstrate their support for the deal—and to try suggest that if Republicans pass it, it will allow them to pivot their focus back to Obamacare instead of dealing with another fiscal crisis.
Nonetheless, conservative groups were already railing against the deal even before it was announced, putting pressure on House Republicans to oppose it—and their efforts may be having an impact:
Many House GOP lawmakers leaving meeting on budget deal obviously not thrilled with Ryan-Murray budget deal
Obviously, "not thrilled" doesn't mean they'll vote against it, but given the history of House Republicans, it would be foolish to discount the possibility. So, if enough Republicans bolt to tank the deal, will House Democrats provide John Boehner cover?
"Stay tuned" @Nancypelosi says in regards to whether Democrats will support #budget agreememt.
The one thing we do know is that whether or not this deal passes, a huge economic issue remains unresolved: Extending emergency unemployment benefits for out-of-work Americans. Whatever Congress does with the budget, there's no excuse for cutting unemployment insurance now, especially in the middle of the holiday season.
Tell your member of Congress: Don't cut emergency unemployment benefits
8:21 AM PT: Here's more on how Boehner is pushing back against right-wing criticism of the budget deal. Also, other GOP senators opposing the deal include John Barrasso of Wyoming, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Jeff Sessions of Alabama.