Senate poised to pass budget, even as GOP presidential candidates say 'no'
By McClatchy Newspapers
Published: Monday, Dec. 16, 2013, 6:51 p.m.
WASHINGTON — The Senate appears poised to pass and send to President Obama as early as Tuesday a two-year budget agreement, as lawmakers are eager to head home and show gridlock-weary constituents Congress can get something done.
Congress' average 2013 Gallup poll approval rating is 14 percent, its lowest level in the survey's 39 years. Senators and representatives realize the public is tired of the bickering and the gridlock.
That's a big reason the House of Representatives last week passed the budget deal in a bipartisan vote. There were growing signs the Senate will follow suit in a vote on Tuesday on limiting debate.
Democrats control 55 of the 100 seats and, if all go along, five Republicans will be needed. Among those expected to vote to cut off debate are Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and John McCain of Arizona.
Hatch's view is widely shared among that group. “This agreement isn't everything I hoped it would be, and it isn't what I would have written,” he said, “but sometimes the answer has to be yes.”
A lot of fellow Senate Republicans disagree. The vote will be closely watched as an illustration of a growing divide in the party, a split that could reverberate in the 2014 and 2016 elections.
Three Republican senators often mentioned as 2016 presidential candidates — Florida's Marco Rubio, Texas' Ted Cruz and Kentucky's Rand Paul — sharply criticize the deal.
Expected to vote no is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. He has supported such agreements. However, in recent years he has been blasted by Tea Party groups for being too conciliatory.
Next year, he will have a Republican primary challenge from businessman Matt Bevin. Bevin has been endorsed by the Senate Conservatives Fund, a political action committee founded by former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint. DeMint became president of the conservative Heritage Foundation.
They, as well as other more conservative Republicans, view the plan announced last week by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash., and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as failing to stop a government spending spree.
Conservative interest groups are on the warpath, vowing to make voters remember lawmakers did little more than agree to a small-scale deal designed to send them home for the year without tackling bigger fiscal issues.
“This deal also exposes the true colors of several in the GOP establishment when it comes to protecting conservative principles,” said Jenny Beth Martin, national coordinator of Tea Party Patriots.
Defying the Tea Party is a risk a lot of Republicans are willing to take. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio last week charged that many conservative interest groups lack credibility, and Gallup last week reported “for the first time, a slim majority of Americans say they have an unfavorable opinion of the Tea Party movement.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Oregon reservoir to be flushed because of urinating teen
- Denver wife killed 12 minutes into 911 call, sparking inquiry
- Recovery expert believes wreckage of missing plane located
- Obama, House Republicans trade accusations in thwarting immigration reform
- AC/DC not disbanding, lead singer Brian Johnson says
- Vermont Senate OKs GMO labels as industry insists genetically modified crops are safe
- Hoax bomb case causes concerns in Boston
- US Airways’ pornographic tweet won’t cost anyone a job
- Global economy recovering from ‘disaster,’ IMF says
- Christie ‘nervous’ as scandal pointed to aides
- Study says regular pot use affects the brain