Saturday November 28th, 2015 8:12AM

Writing a budget might divide House Republicans

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Divisions among Republicans over a budget deal and a shortfall in tax estimates are complicating the House GOP's efforts to advance a spending plan this spring.

Party leaders insist the GOP-controlled House is moving full speed ahead to approve one, but it has fallen behind schedule amid concerns there will be enough votes to pass it.

"That's our intent," said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, when asked this month whether GOP leaders would bring a budget to the floor this year.

Doubts exist because Republicans are split by a bipartisan deal from December between the chairman of the House Budget Committee, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and his Senate counterpart Patty Murray, D-Wash. The deal set the spending cap for the 2015 budget year at levels higher than those imposed by a budget and debt agreement from 2011.

Sixty-two House Republicans voted against the Ryan-Murray deal, mostly because they favored lower spending. Most would have to change course and vote in favor of the higher numbers that Ryan has signaled he will use. Democrats who supplied the votes required to pass the December deal probably would not back a Ryan-written budget that reprises future cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and other programs.

The Ryan-Murray cap on spending for the budget year that begins Oct. 1 is $18 billion higher than permitted by the 2011 budget deal and the automatic spending cuts it put in place.

There's no real need to do a congressional budget if the spending cap is already set. Under Capitol Hill's arcane budget process, the rest of the budget resolution is mostly nonbinding. But it does provide a vehicle for the majority party to set forth its budget and tax priorities and make promises to voters.

"I'm planning on writing one," said Ryan, the GOP's vice presidential nominee in 2012.

Ryan, however, demurred when asked if it will get a vote in the full House.

House Majority leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., announced Friday in an email to Republicans that the House would vote on Ryan's budget in April and that it would promise to be in balance in 10 years despite starting off with the Ryan-Murray figure for 2015.

Democrats control the Senate, and after passing a budget last year for the first time since 2009, have already said they aren't writing one this year. That protects vulnerable Democrats from tough votes in a deteriorating political environment for them.

Another problem for Ryan is the latest revenue projections from the Congressional Budget Office. They show it will be significantly harder for Republicans to keep their promise of balancing the budget by the end of the decade. The office's projections of slower economic growth mean lower than previously expected tax revenues. Republicans would have to come up with larger spending cuts than they have in previous budgets.

The CBO now estimates that tax revenues will be about $240 billion lower in 2022, the year Republicans targeted during last year's debate for bringing the budget into balance. All told, the CBO says its gloomier economic outlook will mean $1.4 trillion in lower revenues over the coming decade than it projected last year.

Aides insist Boehner and other party leaders in the House are determined to get a budget done. Failing to do so would be a big embarrassment and could turn off the core Republican voters they need to boost their numbers in the November election.

"They're going into uncharted territory if they don't do a budget. Clearly (that would) protect them from the charge Democrats will make about cutting Social Security and Medicare," said GOP media consultant Ron Bonjean. "On the other hand, Republicans have become a brand for putting out forward-leaning, fiscally responsible budgets. And when you abandon that, you abandon that brand."

The fall races look promising for Republicans, especially after a special election in Florida was won by a GOP underdog who criticized the health law and Democratic-passed cuts to Medicare. Taking up Ryan's budget could give Democrats an opening for health care attacks of their own.

But many Republicans see passing a spending plan as a major opportunity for conservatives frustrated at being checkmated by Obama, and they see it as a way to put Democrats on record in favor of big spending cuts.

"It's always important to not just hold them to account but to also provide a contrast - and the contrast is the visionary document that outlines what we would do if given the privilege of leading in both the Senate and the House," said Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga.
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 10 months ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 10 months ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 10 months ago )
U.S. News
State DOT awards $48M contract for NE Ga. road project
The state Department of Transportation has awarded a $47.8 million contract for nine miles of work on a northeast Georgia road.
9:37AM ( 10 months ago )
Business News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 10 months ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 10 months ago )
Maysville man dies from Banks County wreck
The Georgia State Patrol reports that alcohol and/or drugs were factors a single-vehicle wreck that claimed the life of a Maysville man in Banks County Tuesday night.
11:07AM ( 10 months ago )
Local/State News
GOP leader regrets talk to white supremacists; party leaders rally around him
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
6:08PM ( 10 months ago )
Conviction of Putin foe sets off protest in Moscow
President Vladimir Putin's chief political foe was convicted along with his brother on Tuesday in a fraud case widely seen as a vendetta by the Kremlin, triggering one of Russia's boldest anti-government demonstrations in years.
6:03PM ( 10 months ago )
More Georgians signing up for health insurance
A federal report says more Georgians have selected health insurance plans through a federally facilitated marketplace.
4:16PM ( 10 months ago )
Standoff at Planned Parenthood ends with suspect's arrest; 3 killed, 9 wounded
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A gunman who opened fire inside a Planned Parenthood clinic was arrested Friday after engaging in gun battles with authorities during an hourslong standoff that killed t...
1:13AM ( 6 hours ago )
White House undergoes Thanksgiving Day lockdown after man draped in American flag jumps fence
WASHINGTON (AP) — A man draped in an American flag climbed over the fence at the White House on Thursday, prompting a lockdown as the first family celebrated Thanksgiving.The man was immediately appre...
10:11PM ( 1 day ago )
Obama grants reprieve to turkeys 'Honest' and 'Abe' during White House ceremony
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama spared two turkeys named for one of the nation's most admired presidents, continuing a White House tradition that provides a refreshing sense of amusement and...
9:18PM ( 2 days ago )
The Latest: UN Security Council strongly condemns 'horrifying' attack in Mali, urges probe
BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — The latest on the attack on a hotel in the Malian capital of Bamako. (All times local):___4:55 a.m.The U.N. Security Council is condemning "the horrifying terrorist attack" at the...
10:58PM ( 1 week ago )
World leaders vow vigorous response to Paris terror spree, but little indication of next steps
ANTALYA, Turkey (AP) — World leaders vowed a vigorous response to the Islamic State group's terror spree in Paris as they opened a two-day meeting in Turkey on Sunday, with President Barack Obama call...
2:14PM ( 1 week ago )