House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican, and House majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, California Republican, sat with reporters on Monday afternoon to discuss the stop gap measure that would fund the federal government for three more weeks. Both Congressmen expressed frustration at the Senate and White House for either not communicating their intentions to see the issue resolved or find 60 votes in the Senate to pass a Continuing resolution.
“This short term CR is designed on the same formula that we did the last one. That is consistent with the formula under H.R. 1. That is cutting $100 billion dollars off the O-11 request or the $61 billion off the O-10 request and it essentially amounts to $ 2 billion a week,” said Mr. Cantor.
Both Congressmen expressed frustration at the Senate and White House for either not communicating their intentions to see the issue resolved or find 60 votes in the Senate to pass a Continuing resolution.
Mr. Cantor explained, “The bill is designed to address a stop gap funding need for the next three weeks, so it amounts to $6 billion and we are hopeful that, once again, this math meets with approval by the Democrats, that we intend to stick to our commitment to reduce spending from the O - 10 levels of $61 billion, but also, we hope that this will be the last time that we have to engage in any stop gap measure,” he said.
I asked the Virginia Congressman about accusation from conservatives in both grassroots and the Congress that the support of the CR amounts to supporting the Democratic health care law. It has been recently discovered by former Congressman, Republican Ernest Istook, now a fellow at the Heritage Foundation, that the new health care law is currently being funded by mandatory appropriation in the bill itself.
“There’s a lot of discussion about $105 billion that was put into the ObamaCare bill, and let’s look at the record here. We passed the first bill here…a repeal of ObamaCare. We did it again when it came to H.R. 1. We put a limiting amendment there saying no further funds will be used to implement ObamaCare, and our committees are going about marking up the bills which will repeal the mandatory slush funds in that bill and we also are committed to starving the agencies of funding necessary to implement that bill,” Mr. Cantor responded. “We knew when the Democrats passed ObamaCare that the agencies did not have the money necessary to promulgate the rest and to implement the bill. Our intention is to make sure we starve the agencies of the monies that they need to do so.”
Listen to Rep. Cantor here.
Conservative activists are saying GOP leadership is fearful of a government shutdown, because House Republicans are fearful of being blamed for the shutdown like they previously were, when the federal government shut down in 1995. Mr. Cantor denied the Republican party was scared of being blamed for any shutdown. He told me, “No, We’re trying to project—one, that we are competent in our leadership and that we mean what we say. We want to reduce spending in this town and we want to start an agenda reform with the other side. That’s what it means. We want to change the way this place works.
Listen to Rep. Cantor here.
Republican Study Committee Chair, Ohio Republican Jim Jordan is among House Republicans who disagree with the CR. Fox News pointed this out to Rep. McCarthy and asked if the blame of not passing the CR would fall on Jim Jordan or the Democrats.
“Jim’s problem with the bill is he wants to finish it. That’s Jim’s frustration It’s Eric’s frustration. It’s Kevin’s frustration,” Mr. McCarthy said.
Listen to Rep. McCarthy here.
However, Rep. Jordan makes it clear in a statement he released on Monday that he is against the three week CR and will vote against it. In the statement, he says “Americans sent us here to deal with big problems in bold ways. We’re borrowing billions of dollars a day, yet Senate Democrats have done little more than wring their hands for the last month. With the federal government facing record deficits and a mammoth debt hanging over our economy and our future, we must do more than cut spending in bite-sized pieces”
“Democrats control both the Senate and the White House, and it’s time they stopped dithering. We need swift action to deal with spending for the rest of the year. We need to stop taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood, and we need to defund ObamaCare. And we need to start tackling next year’s budget, the debt ceiling and other challenges standing in the way of job creation. We’ve made some solid first downs on spending. Now it’s time to look to the end zone”
Congress is indeed up against the clock, as a government shut down looms if a continuing resolution is not passed by both the House and Senate soon. Mr. Cantor expressed obstacles in the Senate and White House, telling reporters:
“We would like to see this resolved. I think that most Americans would like it resolved. The president would like to say that he would like to see it resolved, but as we said before, we have not seen any indication as to where the president is. In fact, we have not seen the Senate able to pass a measure that can garner 60 votes as we saw last week. So we are still trying to see how we go forward long term to get this business done (business that should have been done last year), so we can go about the business of the tax payers for O - 12,” he said.