House Republicans lauded House Speaker John Boehner from walking away from sequester talks, refusing to raise new revenues and demanding that the Senate come up with its own plan.
On Thursday, Boehner said that “The revenue issue is now closed,” as the House adjourned for the weekend. Though congressional leaders are scheduled to meet with Obama at the White House on Friday, the odds of a deal are increasingly unlikely at this point.
House Republicans, for one, claimed victory. From the New York Times:
“We asked him to commit to us that when the cuts actually came on March 1, that he would stand firm and not give in, and he’s holding to that,” said Representative Steve Scalise, Republican of Louisiana and chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee. “I think Friday will be an important day that shows we’re finally willing to stand and fight for conservative principles and force Washington to start living within its means. And that will be a big victory.”
Representative Mick Mulvaney, a South Carolina Republican who was elected on the 2010 Tea Party wave and has had his differences with the speaker, was similarly complimentary toward Mr. Boehner.
“He’s doing exactly what he said he was going to do, and I think it’s working to our favor and to his,” Mr. Mulvaney said. “I get the feeling that our party is probably more unified right now than it has been at any time in the last several months.”
“I think he realized the president of the United States was using him as a tool for his own benefit and was not actually in a partnership with him, and he also realized that we in the House were not happy with what was coming out of those negotiations,” said Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, told the Times. “We were pretty blunt with him and the entire leadership team that we have to feel like we have a plan and a vision, and we’re following up on that plan and that vision.”
But as the sequester goes into effect on Friday, Congress is shifting focus to March 27, when a continuing resolution to fund the government expires, and a shutdown goes into effect. From Politico:
To avoid a blowup, leaders in both parties seem determined not to use any extension of the CR as a vehicle to change the cuts significantly. But they could possibly provide incremental relief to agencies by updating their appropriations, from which the cuts are made.
The House is already moving in this direction with a draft CR that would include a full-year budget for the Defense Department, for example. Senate Democrats will want to expand on this to include domestic agencies as well.