Conservatives wanting lower spending have caused House Republicans to punt on revealing their budget plans
House Speaker Paul Ryan and Rep Tom Price of Georgia have held several listening sessions
House Republicans are punting plans to roll out their budget until next month, amid continued pushback from conservatives about the blueprint, according to multiple House Republican aides familiar with the discussions.
The divisions inside the House GOP conference threaten to derail the process, as Speaker Paul Ryan faces the same problem his predecessor encountered – resistance from conservatives who want to lower the overall spending level and include some major cuts to entitlement programs in the near term.
Ryan, a former Budget Chairman, and the panel’s current leader, Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, have held several listening sessions on the topic with members in the House Freedom Caucus in an effort to get a consensus, but continued resistance scuttled plans for a budget release this week.
Ryan is encouraging members to agree to the topline spending level set by last year’s budget deal so that the House can move ahead with spending bills, and attach key policy proposals to the budget that would set up the next president. But many House Republicans opposed that deal and want to see more aggressive cuts sooner in both discretionary and mandatory sides of the government ledger.
“The House is working to advance a balanced budget that will show our conservative vision and help us get back to regular order on appropriations bills. Members will continue to discuss the path ahead this week,” Ryan’s spokeswoman AshLee Strong told CNN.
Discussions will continue, and the latest proposal, according to a Budget Committee aide includes adding language on the budget resolution for members to vote on “immediate mandatory savings” on the House floor.
House GOP leaders hoped to get a jump start on the debate this year, with a budget release in February to allow earlier consideration of the dozen annual spending bills that fund government agencies.
The House is in session fewer days and the time off for both parties’ political conventions in July forced leaders to move up the debate on those measures. GOP aides stress the budget process is still ahead of schedule and there is time to move the budget in the coming weeks.
William Allison, spokesman for the House Budget Committee, told CNN, “This proposal enjoys the overwhelming support of the committee members, and the chairman looks forward to sharing it with the broader Conference as we continue moving this process forward.”
House Democrats seized on the internal feud.
“This delay is yet another indication that the extreme Tea Party is in control of the Republican majority,” Rep Chris Van Hollen, the top Democrat on the Budget panel, said in a written statement on Monday.