House Republicans briefed on a two-year, $2 trillion budget compromise predicted Wednesday that the legislation would clear the GOP-run chamber in a vote later this week, though Democrats will have to deliver a sizable bloc of votes for it.
Influential conservative advocacy groups panned the deal, negotiated by Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and urged Republican lawmakers to oppose it. But House Republicans attending a private morning meeting on the budget agreement said criticism was muted.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who sided with conservatives in the October budget fight that led to a 16-day government shutdown, on Wednesday urged his rank and file not to "surrender" their votes to the outside groups that pushed them toward the first shutdown, according to two members who were in the room.
“Boehner told them to stand up for themselves,” one Republican said.
The House could vote as early as Thursday on the Murray-Ryan compromise, with the Democratic Senate following next week. The package would help avert another government shutdown in January and set spending levels through October 2015. The legislation partially restores $63 billion in spending cuts to defense and domestic programs that are scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1 unless lawmakers restore the funding, and trims the deficit by $22.5 billion over 10 years.
House Republicans tied to the GOP leadership praised the deal as they emerged from Wednesday’s Capitol Hill caucus meeting. Some, who spoke anonymously in order to be candid, predicted that as many as 150 of their Republican colleagues would vote for the bill. Even conservatives critical of Murray-Ryan expressed their doubts about the plan in respectful tones.
That could be the most telling factor in the legislation’s viability as the House races to approve must-pass items before adjourning for the year on Friday.
“You know, there are some reforms in there that I think are good; it didn’t go enough as far as I’m concerned,” Rep. Ted Yoho, a Tea Party-aligned Florida Republican said. “The good thing is, it’ll prevent a government shutdown.”