Politico, the Bible of the DC establishment, has all the glorious details:
GOP congressional leaders are racing to approve a budget blueprint for the coming year that abides by strict spending limits, determined to show that the party can maintain fiscal discipline.
But some rank-and-file Republicans are already expressing interest in a much bigger deal that would adjust those caps, sweep away the still-developing blueprint and ease the budgetary pressure on the Pentagon — and, grudgingly, domestic programs if necessary.
Some staff on the Hill are already calling it Ryan-Murray 2.0. That’s a nod to the 2-year-old deal struck by then-Budget chairs Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) that temporarily loosened some of the fiscal restraints imposed under a 2011 budget law by funding key priorities like defense and offering modest increases for a handful of Democratic favorites.
Fiscal hawks condemned the deal because it didn’t include major entitlement reforms, but it was popular among GOP moderates and Democrats.
House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said his committee plans to write appropriations bills over the coming months that reflect the GOP’s current budget numbers, which adhere to the 2011 budget law caps. But Rogers signaled those numbers could very well change as “pressure” builds.
GOP leadership has not endorsed any plan to do away with the budget caps, and negotiations likely wouldn’t even begin until this fall. But some Republicans openly worry the spending limits are hurting national defense. To crack open the 2011 budget law that put the caps in place, however, they’re going to need buy-in from the White House and its Democratic allies in the Senate, who will demand more spending on nondefense programs in exchange for any loosening of the Pentagon’s purse strings.
Mentioning that there has been no “endorsement” tells you loud and clear this is a trial balloon — a leak aimed at testing to see how much support or outrage there is out there regarding this idea. Don’t buy the noncommittal stuff. THIS is coming. MORE:
That’s why many conservatives — even opponents of a broad spending agreement — expect a repeat of the 2013 accord struck by Ryan and Murray.
“There is a path to do something like that,” said Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), who helps whip the caucus. “To bring folks together on something that continues to reduce the deficit and be below the target amounts, but also fund the priorities that both sides have … I could get behind that; I think a lot of people can get behind that.”
Even fiscally conservative outside groups acknowledge Congress is going to head in a new direction, although they’re promising to put up a fight. And some Republicans who voted against the first Ryan-Murray agreement say they’re skeptical that they could back a new version.
The divide could once again put Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in the cross hairs of conservatives, who’ve railed against previous bipartisan spending deals and called for new House leadership.
“Folks know where leadership is trying to drive the train,” said Dan Holler of Heritage Action, which opposed Ryan-Murray and hopes to scuttle a repeat. “Members are frustrated because they’ve been asked to take a lot of bad votes already.”
These agreements are a joke. They get ignored as soon as the press coverage dies off and the drivebys move on to something else. Instead of playing around, why not simply pass a budget like that pesky 1974 law requires? MORE:
For now, GOP leaders in both chambers are staying quiet about the idea. But centrist Republicans talking about it freely don’t seem too worried about fiscal-hawk grumblings, arguing that a Ryan-Murray sequel could be inevitable given the GOP’s top priority of sparing the Pentagon from another spending freeze and Democrats’ desire to dissolve the caps.
“I can’t imagine the year ending without a Ryan-Murray agreement,” said Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) off the chamber floor.
A 2011 deficit-reduction law enacted painful automatic, across-the-board spending cuts to defense and domestic programs in hopes of pushing lawmakers toward a major entitlement and tax reform. When it failed, the reductions kicked in, and agencies have been scrambling to make do with less.
But President Barack Obama, who also wants to lift the caps, says he’ll veto spending measures that give the military a boost without raising funds for domestic programs like education, transportation and science.
Perhaps that’s why many in the GOP already seem resigned to the fact that they’ll have to give a little in a Ryan-Murray 2.0 accord.
“I find it hard to believe we’ll get what we want in defense without doing something domestically, what the Democrats would want,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a senior member of the budget and appropriations committees. “Clearly, the two sides are going to have to sit down at some point and have a discussion. … There’s potential for a larger budget deal later.”
The mood on the Hill, surprisingly, seems ripe for such an agreement, with lawmakers striking a number of bipartisan deals recently on Medicare reform, trade and the Iran nuclear negotiations. […]
Ah. There’s that word “bipartisan” again. When you hear that, it means DO WHAT THE DEMS WANT. Gosh. The last time we had Democrats doing what the Republicans wanted was the early 80s with the Reagan tax cuts. We had a principled leader communicating common sense to the American people who then turned around and told their leaders what they clearly wanted. The Good Ol’ Days.