This afternoon the House passed a continuing resolution by a wide margin, 271-158. The measure goes now to the Senate. If passed and signed by the president, it would add three weeks of funding and chop another $6 billion from the 2011 budget. Pundits are making much of the fact that 54 Republicans voted against it, 48 more than on the first CR. A Republican vote counter tells me that there was not a single issue that drove the no votes. Some wanted policy riders on abortion; others were concerned with ObamaCare or fiscal matters.
Although the liberal punditocracy will coo about the number of no votes among Republicans, let’s look at those no votes. Among the feisty freshmen, 20 voted against the CR. In other words, 75 percent of the newly-elected hawks voted for this. And why shouldn’t they? As a senior Republican adviser put it, “In just the last five weeks, House Republicans have cut $10 billion in spending, which is unprecedented. The president and the Senate are moving in our direction, not the reverse, which means House Republicans have the momentum.”
Oh, and the Democrats lost 85 votes, out of a far smaller caucus. I’m sure the cable TV news talkers will prattle on about the dissention in the party. If they had the right party, they’d be quite perceptive.
But the House GOP leaders are well aware this can’t go on forever. Majority Leader Eric Cantor released a statement that included these remarks:
In just the last five weeks, House Republicans have achieved $10 billion in spending cuts. This is just the start of our efforts to reduce wasteful government spending so that we can increase economic confidence allowing businesses to grow and people to get back to work. . . . We hope that the Senate works quickly to approve this measure which is consistent with the previous short-term CR and H.R. 1 and will prevent a government shutdown.
That said, we cannot continue to fund the government with a series of stopgap measures and I am hopeful that this is the last short-term CR we will have to deal with. It is very clear where the House stands, but three months into the year, the position of a majority of the Senate remains unknown. I strongly believe that Leader Reid must offer a proposal that can gather a majority of support in the Senate. Furthermore, the President has yet to truly weigh in on where he stands, and has an obligation to this country to do so. House Republicans cannot negotiate with ourselves, and we are demanding that Democrats and the Administration get serious about cutting spending and show us their plan.
The danger in politics is to allow the perfect become the enemy of the good. The House has done good work; it’s time for the Senate to do so as well.