No Movement on Larger Budget Framework in the House

While budget talks between the Obama administration and Senate Republicans seem stalled, House Republicans also seem content to wait until the fall before launching the next budget battle, according to a June 16 report from Politico.

According to the story, the lack of action on the House side is due to several factors. It is partly due to a belief that Republicans will have more leverage in the fall when the debt ceiling will become an issue. It is also due to intra-party divisions between Tea Party supporters and more moderate Republicans concerned about the effects of sequestration.

“There are ... members on the moderate side who are still upset over sequestration,” Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) told Politico. “There is pressure from the moderate side who have either very district-specific needs or philosophical differences.” The Obama administration is hoping these moderates will put pressure on the Republican leadership to come to the table, but so far that has not happened.

Another reason for the slowdown is technical and tactical. The House leadership is reluctant to begin official conference negotiations with the Senate because, after 20 days, members of both parties can begin to offer motions on the floor to "instruct" the conferees to take certain positions. That could result in politically embarassing votes forced by both Democrats and the most conservative Republicans.

Meanwhile, House Republicans seem content to push their budget priorities through a handful of appropriations bills focused on defense and homeland security. President Obama has threatened to veto those bills absent an agreement on a larger budget framework, an action that prompted House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to charge him with threatening to shut down the federal government.

The Senate is expected to begin work on its appropriations bills this week.

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