House Republicans have a new plan to overcome deep internal divisions over defense funding: Work it out next week.
After a night of stalemate, the Budget Committee on Thursday passed the GOP’s spending blueprint on a party-line vote, and over the objections of House leaders, who had been pushing a controversial war-funding amendment they thought necessary to pass the bill on the House floor. If leaders still believe the amendment is necessary, they plan to add it themselves in the Rules Committee or on the House floor.
Majority Whip Steve Scalise and Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry went over Budget Chairman Tom Price’s head to seek support for the amendment. Price said it could not pass among his committee members, but the whips polled members themselves and tried to call Price’s bluff.
The problem was, Price wasn’t bluffing. Committee members refused to vote for the amendment, which sought to raise the budget’s funding for off-budget spending on the war on terrorism to $96 billion without requiring any of it to be offset.
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy tried to gather support for the amendment into the night to no avail, even showing up at the committee hearing after 10 p.m. to talk to members. The panel gave up at midnight, then returned Thursday morning to pass the clean budget without the amendment that had ground action to a halt.
The budget is expected on the House floor next week.