While the House Ways and Means Committee rolled out a debt-reducing package of tax cuts Thursday, it may not be enough to get conservatives to back the budget numbers agreed upon by former Speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama last fall.
The Budget Savings Package, which consists of three separate bills, would save an estimated $16.5 billion over two years and a total of $98 billion over the course of a decade — falling short of what members of the Republican Study Committee and House Freedom Caucus are calling for.
“We busted the caps by $30 billion this year and $80 billion over two years, and we can’t even make that up, much less make a dent in moving towards surplus,” Rep. Dave Brat of Virginia told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “We’re increasing the deficit by $105 billion, the deficit will be $540 billion this year under Republican leadership, we’re having a drama at the presidential level with the elections, and the people know the shift is moving in the wrong direction. I don’t think we’re getting anywhere near where we have to be with this budget move.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it clear the upper chamber won’t pass any legislation that doesn’t meet the numbers in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. Meanwhile, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi announced Monday they are pushing back the timeline for moving on a budget.
“I applaud our side, the House and Kevin Brady for moving in the right direction, but then over the last couple of days the Senate seems to be playing Charlie Brown and the football again, and they might not even do a budget; they have some language about ‘maybe if we throw a Hail Mary at the end of the year we can do reconciliation with the new president,” Brat said.
House Speaker Paul Ryan has been advocating to pass a budget that reflects the party’s vision but still falls in line with the legislation passed last year, allowing Congress to restore regular order.
During a February conference meeting, the Wisconsin Republican questioned members on whether it would be worth giving up appropriations bills, a balanced budget, entitlement reform and reconciliation for just a $40 million increase after defense spending is taken into account. The party is expected to continue to work on a path forward and return the budget process to regular order.
“Members discussions continue, and the path forward will be determined by the Republican Conference as a team,” Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said.
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