House Republicans failed to pass an appropriations bill on Wednesday that would have cut federal transportation spending by $4.4 billion, halting their first attempt to implement the deep cuts to federal spending they have campaigned on and supported in the past.
In March, for the third time, House Republicans passed a budget outline written by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). This Ryan Budget included a radical re-do of Medicare for anyone 55 and under along with even more cuts than the previous two because it kept the sequestration in place, while shifting the defense cuts to other areas of the budget, and set a course for the budget to be balanced within 10 years.
“With this action, the House has declined to proceed on the implementation of the very budget it adopted three months ago,” said appropriations chair Hal Rogers (R-KY). “Thus I believe that the House has made its choice: sequestration — and its unrealistic and ill-conceived discretionary cuts — must be brought to an end.”
It’s much harder to vote for $4.4 billion in cuts when you — and your opponents — see how those cuts would actually hit your district and you know they have no chance of passing the Senate or being signed into law by the president.
Talking Points Memo‘s Brian Beulter called the collapse of the bill as the House breaks for its August recess “the GOP’s long-predicted comeuppance.”
“It might look like a minor hiccup, or a symbolic error,” he wrote. “But it spells doom for the party’s near-term budget strategy and underscores just how bogus the party’s broader agenda really is and has been for the last four years.”
Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) in a press conference on Thursday asserted that the votes were there to pass the bill, even though the bill’s manager, Tom Latham (R-IA), said, “I’m not sure that the votes were all there,” on Wednesday.
Boehner assured reporters that his caucus’ strategy was not falling apart, but he did call for a short-term continuing resolution to prevent a government shutdown.
“It’s clear that we’re not going to have the appropriations bills finished by September 30,” Boehner said Thursday morning. “I believe a continuing resolution for some short period of time would probably be in the nation’s interest. But having said that, the idea of operating for an entire year under a CR is not a good way to do business. And I’ve been working with [appropriations chairman Hal Rogers] to try to find a way to actually do all of these appropriations bills. I think it’s important for Congress to do its work.”
It’s so important that Boehner has the House scheduled to be session for nine whole days in September.
Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.com