After a day of complaints from both parties in Congress, GOP leaders set a vote for Thursday on a giant, year-end Omnibus spending measure, as top Republicans expressed confidence they will get just enough votes to approve the plan, despite liberal and conservative opposition.
Asked by a reporter if he would have enough votes, Speaker John Boehner gave an animated “Yes” while walking by an open door on the House floor, though it’s expected he will need the votes of Democrats to do that – and for some Democrats, it’s an easy decision to vote for it.
“You have to be kind of clueless not to realize that this is the best it’s going to get at least for the next two years,” said Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA), as he argued Democrats would be wrong to help torpedo this agreement.
But there were many lawmakers on both sides who did not agree with that assessment.
Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) won’t be the only Republican that is expected to vote against the plan, as some GOP lawmakers wanted to take a stand in that bill against the President’s recent immigration actions.
When it comes to actual spending, the Omnibus allows discretionary spending to creep up – just barely – from $1.012 trillion to $1.014 trillion – an increase of $2 billion.
Here is what discretionary spending has looked like in recent years:
Fiscal Year 2010 – $1.089.7 trillion
Fiscal Year 2011 – $1.049.8 trillion
Fiscal Year 2012 – $1.043.0 trillion
Fiscal Year 2013 – $1.047 trillion – then reduced to $967 billion by sequester
Fiscal Year 2014 – $1.012 trillion
Fiscal Year 2015 – $1.014 trillion
The reduced levels of spending from just a few years ago was something that GOP leaders tried to emphasize in meetings with Republicans, arguing the Omnibus would make real cuts in the budget of the EPA, IRS and more.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” said Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), who is in line to be the new Chairman of the House Budget Committee.
“I think at the end of the day that the votes will be there,” Price told me, as Speaker John Boehner pressed GOP lawmakers to stay on board with the funding plan.
If Boehner cannot find the votes for the Omnibus, which funds 11 of the 12 government spending bills while leaving the Department of Homeland Security on a temporary budget until late February, then the Congress is expected to approve a short term funding extension into the New Year.
If you want to read the bill, the 1,603 pages of text is posted here.