Friday, November 11, 2005

More trouble for the GOP as budget bill stalls

As if Tuesday's election results weren't enough, the Republicans have another problem, this time in Congress:

Facing defeat, House Republican leaders on Thursday abruptly called off a vote on a contentious budget-cutting bill in a striking display of the discord and political anxiety running through the party's ranks.

Despite making major concessions to moderate Republicans, House leaders failed to win enough converts to the budget plan and surrendered in midafternoon. Leading Republicans said they would try again next week to find a bare majority for more than $50 billion in spending cuts and policy changes...

It was a stunning retreat for a Republican majority that has prided itself on iron discipline and an ability to win even the most difficult floor votes consistently. It was set against Democratic election victories on Tuesday that left Republicans worried about the 2006 midterm contests.

Cutting taxes for the rich, slashing social programs, drilling in the Arctic. Some party, eh?

Steve Soto at The Left Coaster: "In a further sign that the House GOP is in trouble, interim Majority Leader Roy Blunt had to postpone a vote on a budget reconciliation bill that would have cut $50 billion primarily from food stamps, Medicaid, and student loans among other GOP pet peeves. The bill until yesterday also had ANWR in it, but that was jettisoned to garner moderate GOP votes in the caucus. That strategy failed today when those same moderates said they couldn’t withstand the pressure from their constituents to vote against the cuts. Plus, the moderates said that their constituents were against ANWR as well. You know things are different in Washington now when House GOP moderates are defying the White House to listen to their constituents for a change." Make sure to read the whole post.

Steve Benen at The Carpetbagger Report: "Yesterday was a complete debacle for the entire party. Centrist Republicans, many of whom are in competitive districts and are worried about re-election, were asked to go along with over $50 billion in cuts to Medicaid, food stamps, agriculture subsidies, student loans, and a host of other programs. They wouldn't. Simultaneously, far-right Republicans were asked to give up on drilling the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. They wouldn't either." Another great post.

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