Two prominent House conservatives Tuesday announced that they will vote against a stopgap measure to keep the government funded through April 8, an indication that Republicans may see a significant number of defections when the House votes on the bill later today.
Indiana Republican Rep. Mike Pence, who has led the charge on defunding Planned Parenthood, said in a statement that he will oppose the stopgap measure because “it’s time to take a stand for taxpayers and future generations.”
“Things don’t change in Washington, D.C. until they have to,” Pence said. “It will not be possible to put our fiscal house in order without a fight. By giving liberals in the Senate another three weeks of negotiations, we will only delay a confrontation that must come. I say, ‘Let it come now. It’s time to take a stand.’”
Moments later, Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz announced via Twitter that he would also oppose the stopgap bill. Chaffetz, a two-term conservative congressman, is weighing a run against Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah); Hatch told 2chambers Monday night that he also was leaning against the measure when the Senate considers it, likely later this week.
Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann, who voted against the last stopgap measure earlier this month, has also said that she will oppose the latest measure.
And earlier Tuesday morning, the anti-abortion rights group Susan B. Anthony List urged members of Congress to vote against the stopgap bill because it does not include Pence’s amendment defunding Planned Parenthood.
“The time to end taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood is not next week, or in three weeks, or in a month, it’s now,” said the group’s president, Marjorie Dannenfelser. “Ending taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood in both short-term and long-term Continuing Resolution bills is a non-negotiable.”
The defections, while problematic for House Republican leaders who have worked to keep their caucus in unison on reining in spending and keeping the government running, don’t appear likely to derail the stopgap measure. Still, they could make it more difficult for any further short-term measures to be passed, upping the pressure on Congress and the White House to reach agreement on a longer-term measure sooner rather than later.
Also worth noting is that most of those who are announcing their opposition to the stopgap measure are doing so because they prefer a longer-term compromise; yet the chances of the White House and congressional leaders hammering out an agreement before the current funding measure expires Friday are virtually nonexistent.
At a news conference Tuesday morning, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said that he expects the stopgap bill to pass the House when it comes up for a vote after 3 p.m. today but declined to answer when asked whether he expected the bill to pass without the support of any House Democrats.
Calling the stopgap measure “a small down payment” on Republicans’ pledge to rein in federal spending, Boehner defended the House’s efforts and said he was hopeful that a longer-term measure would pass “soon.”
“Yes, we’ve got some members who want to do more,” Boehner said. “We’ve got members who think we ought to add riders to this. We’ve been in conversations with the Senate and the White House; we’re hopeful that we’ll have a long-term continuing resolution through Sept. 30, and we’re hopeful that we’ll have it soon. But in the meantime, our goal is to cut spending and to keep the government open and meet our commitment to the American people of bringing real fiscal responsibility to Washington.”