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Centrist Republicans mobilize against draft GOP budget

Centrist Republicans mobilize against draft GOP budget
Charlie Dent - Conscription - Diane Black - Freedom Caucus - National Debt Of The United States - Paul Ryan - Republican Party - Sports Commentator - The Tuesday Group - United States Senate
June 30
11:272017

Tuesday Group co-chairman Charlie Dent is gathering signatures on a letter asking Speaker Paul Ryan to intervene in House Budget Chairwoman Diane Black’s plan to cut $200 billion in mandatory spending from the GOP budget. | Getty





Centrist Republicans mobilize against draft GOP budget





By

Rachael Bade

and
Sarah Ferris

06/29/2017 05:31 PM EDT

Updated 06/29/2017 07:06 PM EDT
2017-06-29T07:06-0400



Centrist House Republicans are lining up to oppose a draft GOP budget aimed at curbing entitlement spending — and threatening to vote against the plan if they don't get a bipartisan deal to increase spending caps.
Tuesday Group co-chairman Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) is gathering signatures on a letter asking Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to intervene in House Budget Chairwoman Diane Black’s plan to cut $200 billion in mandatory spending in the GOP budget.Story Continued Below

The Tuesday Group letter — which sources say has about 20 signatories so far — warns that the Tennessee Republican’s proposal is “not practical” and “could imperil tax reform,” according to a draft of the letter obtained by POLITICO. The letter also encourages GOP leaders to work with Democrats to reach a budget agreement setting higher spending levels for fiscal 2018 — something the letter suggests could be paired with a vote to raise the debt ceiling.
Without such a deal, some moderates may not support the budget, according to the letter.
“[A]bsent such a bipartisan, bicameral agreement, we are reticent to support any budget resolution on the House floor,” the letter reads.
If all 20 moderates truly vote against such a budget, that's nearly enough to block it from passage. House Republicans can afford to lose only 23 Republican votes when they bring their fiscal blueprint to the floor. And leaders know a number of conservatives will likely never support the proposal, which they think doesn't go far enough in taking an axe to federal spending.
The centrists’ pushback is the latest obstacle for Black, who has struggled for weeks to unveil a budget that all parts of the Republican Conference can support.





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Eager to appeal to conservatives and use the GOP’s majorities to curb spending, Black crafted a fiscal blueprint that would instruct other committees to roll back spending on things like food stamps, farm subsidies, housing allowances and veterans programs. She wants to use the budget’s procedural powers to fast-track those cuts alongside a GOP tax package later in the year.
But the chairmen who would be tasked with making such cuts have balked. Black has already lowered her targeted cuts from $500 billion to $200 billion.
Even that lower figure worries the moderates, who are also concerned the spending cuts will complicate tax reform efforts.
“While fiscal responsibility and long-term budget stability is essential, requiring hundreds of billions — as much as $200 billion by some accounts — in budget savings from mandatory spending programs in the reconciliation package is not practical and will make enacting tax reform even more difficult than it already will be,” the draft letter reads.
Some traditional Republicans are stunned by the centrists' opposition.
"If you run on any kind of Republican, fiscal responsibly ideas, if not this, what?” asked Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker (R-N.C.). "If you always say, ‘We can’t cut here, we can’t trim here,’ and stymie this, then what do we do? Keep on spending and taking people’s tax dollars?"
Black received some good news Thursday, however.

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