- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 14, 2015

House Speaker John A. Boehner asked five Republican members Tuesday to hammer out a final budget with the Senate this month, a key priority for Republicans who want to present a balanced-budget plan and win a coveted path to repealing Obamacare.

The Ohio Republican named House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price of Georgia to the budget conference, alongside Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, Diane Black of Tennessee, Todd Rokita of Indiana and John Moolenaar of Michigan.

“I am grateful to all the members who have agreed to serve on the conference committee and work toward a final budget agreement that helps get our fiscal House in order and reflects the people’s top priorities — a stronger economy and a safer America,” the speaker said.

Aides said the Senate is expected to name its conferees later this week.

Lawmakers will glide past Wednesday’s deadline to finish the budget, although Congress rarely meets the April 15 cutoff.



At conference, lawmakers will try to smooth out differences over spending and their approaches to Medicare. The House plan turns the health program for seniors into a voucher-like system, while the Senate’s does not.

Still, key negotiators say they should be able to sort out their differences. Both plans seek a balanced budget, with taxes and spending at the same level, within a decade. However, both call for both the repeal of Obamacare and retention of the law’s tax revenues.

Democrats, while, have said the GOP plan favors the rich at the expense of the struggling middle class.

“They seek to empower the special interests and make it harder to buy a home, harder to send a child to college, and harder to have a secure and enjoyable retirement,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat.

She appointed Reps. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, John Yarmuth of Kentucky and Gwen Moore of Wisconsin to the budget conference.

The budget resolution sets limits that will guide actual spending bills later this year. It also hands the GOP a path toward putting an Obamacare repeal bill on President Obama’s desk, forcing him to veto their will.

Lawmakers haven’t said whether they plan to use the process, known as “reconciliation,” for Obamacare alone or for other priorities, such as tax reform.

The process is considered a powerful tool, because it lets the GOP-majority Congress create new legislation without worrying about a Democratic filibuster in the Senate.

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