Top Republican Says Balancing The Budget As Important As Obamacare Repeal

(REUTERS/Jim Bourg)

Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter

Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker said Republicans need to ensure they put forth a Fiscal Year 2018 budget that balances.

Congress recently passed its first procedural hurdle in repealing Obamacare earlier this month, but the reconciliation bill did nothing to bring down spending levels.

Walker said the majority of Republicans ran on “urgently doing something about Obamacare,” adding the promise of lower spending numbers swayed a number of conservatives to vote for the repeal bill.

“Many members I talked to weren’t comfortable with the numbers and they did so with the condition that the FY 2018 budget, that there would be more than just lip service, but a genuine effort to make sure that balances,” he told reporters Monday.

According to the North Carolina Republican, the assurance they would craft a more conservative budget swayed a number of members to vote for the repeal bill. While some conservatives have expressed hesitation on whether leadership is serious about controlling spending, Walker said he’s confident they share the same goals.

“I believe they (leadership) are — I believe sometimes there is a little pause to make sure that it isn’t too hard of a 90 degree turn,” he said. “But just like the promises of repealing Obamacare, this promise is no less important when it comes to removing the great burden for generations to come.”

Republicans set a Jan. 27  deadline to file repeal legislation, but that date could be a stretch.

“I applaud the excitement, I do think we ought to be careful as far as putting hard dates and hard timelines on every different thing that we do because, with two different bodies, both the Senate and the House, it doesn’t always happen overnight,” Walker said, adding he hopes they will have the full repeal and replacement legislation in place by the spring.

Republicans are slated to attend their policy retreat in Philadelphia this week to work out the logistics of their policy agenda.

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