House Republicans aren’t all sold on Rep. Paul Ryan’s new budget.
Seven conservative House Republicans hosted a panel late Tuesday afternoon at the Heritage Foundation, none of whom committed to voting for the blueprint unveiled earlier in the day. One of them — a member of the House Budget Committee — said he’s unequivocally opposed.
“I will be voting no,” said Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS). “It’s not good enough.”
He argued that the budget resolution does not adequately address tax reform, balance the budget quickly enough or cut spending down to the levels promised under the GOP’s 2010 “Pledge To America” manifesto.
The other panelists were Reps. Raúl Labrador (ID), Jeff Landry (LA), Jeff Duncan (SC), Ted Poe (TX), Louie Gohmert (TX) and David Schweikert (AZ). All of them hedged when asked how they plan on voting — some said they need to take a closer look while others expressed concerns.
“I’m not sure if I’m going to vote for it or not,” Gohmert hedged. “I appreciate so much the great work of Paul Ryan. But we took a pledge, and we said we would cut more than is being cut.”
The gripes aren’t necessarily an indication that Ryan will have trouble corralling the Republican votes needed to pass the blueprint on the House floor — the panelists are among the most conservative members of Congress. But even though it’s dead on arrival in the Senate, narrow passage would underscore the difficulty Republicans are having uniting their caucus as election year considerations force them to dial back some of their most controversial policy positions. Last year, all but four House members voted to pass a similar budget resolution.
The blueprint, advertised largely as a deficit reduction plan, includes big tax breaks alongside massive spending cuts that would overall take multiple decades to balance the budget.
“That’s a problem,” said Gohmert.
“That’s definitely a problem for me,” said Labrador.
“The country can’t wait that long,” said Poe.
Sahil Kapur is a congressional reporter for TPM. He previously covered politics and public policy for numerous publications including The Guardian and The Huffington Post. He can be reached at sahil [at] talkingpointsmemo.com.