54 Republicans vote against House bill to fund government for three more weeks

Chris Moody Contributor
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The conservative wing of the Republican House caucus took a swipe at GOP leadership Tuesday, with 54 GOP members voting against the House bill to fund the government for three more weeks.

The funding extension is needed to keep the government running while the House and Senate negotiate a long-term spending plan. Eighty-five Democrats joined Republicans to pass the measure.

The bill, which passed 271-158, cuts about $6 billion from the federal budget and will move onto the Senate, where it is also likely to pass, despite conservative opposition in that chamber as well.

Encouraged by conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation and the Club for Growth to oppose the bill, the GOP defectors complained that the three week extension did not withhold funding for the health care law, Planned Parenthood and other programs.

“I am convinced that a vote for the CR is a vote to not fight against ObamaCare,” Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann said in a statement encouraging other members to join her in opposition. “The time has come to take a stand.”

After the vote, Florida Rep. Allen West — a Tea Party-backed freshman member who voted against the measure — said he couldn’t support the bill in good faith.

“People have to be able to sleep with themselves. I know that I can look myself in the mirror and explain my vote very well to my constituents back in South Florida,” West said. “We have got to start making some of the hard choices and decisions. That’s adult leadership.”

That line — “adult leadership” — was reminiscent of a comment made by House Speaker John Boehner, who said at the beginning of the term that he would be having an “adult moment” with new members of Congress about spending and the debt.

On the other side of the aisle, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland said the vote was a discouraging sign for the negotiation process between the parties on a long-term spending agreement.

“You can’t come to an agreement on any kind of compromise with 54 people who won’t compromise with their own leadership,” Hoyer said.

The Senate will take up the measure this week and must pass it onto President Obama before funding runs out at midnight on Friday.

Alex Brown contributed to this report.

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