President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) both expressed a desire on Friday to pass a continuing resolution that would avert a government shutdown later this month. They each suggested they would rather not hold the funding of the government hostage to the negotiations over the sequester, which goes into effect Friday.
But conservatives are giving the idea mixed reviews, with some calling for Boehner to use the continuing resolution — and by extension, the threat of a government shutdown — to secure concessions.
Reps. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) and Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) are asking fellow Republicans to sign a letter urging Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) to do just that. The Club for Growth has signed on to the effort, saying it will likely urge members to vote against the CR if it doesn’t include such a provision.
It’s very unlikely GOP leadership would include such a thing in the CR. If he did, it wouldn’t pass in the Senate, where Democrats have the majority.
Jackie Bodnar, a spokewoman for the tea party group Freedomworks, also criticized the CR.
“A simple ‘date-change’ continuing resolution is just another self-negotiation by Republican leadership to accommodate the scare tactics of the Democrats,” Bodnar said. “If congressional leadership is serious about getting spending and the debt under control, they will take a principled stand and pass a serious budget that reforms entitlements, taxes, and health care.”
Other conservatives say they don’t object to the deal to avert a potential shutdown showdown.
American Conservative Union chairman Al Cardenas said his organization would support it as long as the sequester remains intact. Obama said he would agree to allow Congress to deal with the sequester separately from the continuing resolution.
“We will support a continuing resolution that strictly adheres to the new budget numbers under the sequester and will urge Speaker Boehner and the House appropriators to follow up with appropriations bills for the next fiscal year that are consistent with the sequester,” Cardenas said.
Republicans last Congress used the potential government shutdown to get Democrats to agree to spending cuts, and some have suggested there could be another showdown this month.
But Reuters reports that there is little appetite in the GOP for a repeat of that battle and that there was wide support at a caucus meeting for a clean continuing resolution (i.e. one that could easily pass in both chambers and doesn’t seek addition concessions).
Congress must pass something that continues to fund the government by March 27, or it would face another shutdown.
Updated at 4:17 p.m.