- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 19, 2015

Speaker John A. Boehner said Thursday his chamber likely will debate additional defense spending when his party’s budget resolution heads to the floor next week.

House Republicans are hoping to avoid embarrassment and break an impasse between GOP deficit and defense hawks as they hammer out their fiscal 2016 budget.

Pro-defense members are pushing for billions more in national security spending that might not be offset elsewhere, alarming those who are most concerned with red ink.

“There is overwhelming support in our conference for providing additional resources to protect our national security,” Mr. Boehner, Ohio Republican, said at his weekly press conference.

House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, Georgia Republican, is reconvening his panel Thursday after struggling to find the votes for his plan late Wednesday.

The chairman’s budget gets around spending caps by setting aside $94 billion for a war account known as the Overseas Contingency Operations fund — $36 billion more than President Obama’s $58 billion request.

But some Republicans labeled his efforts a “gimmick” that clearly make an end run around budget caps known as the sequester.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, wondered aloud Thursday if the GOP had the votes to pass the “same old warmed-over stew.”

“Their initial statement is what we’d describe as ‘work harder for less,’” she said of the GOP plan released Tuesday.

Congressional budgets are blueprints without the force of law, but they offer a comprehensive outline of each party’s agenda as lawmakers forge actual spending bills.

And the budget can be used to pass future legislation, through a process known as “reconciliation,” that offers the GOP a chance to make major tax reforms or to eviscerate Obamacare.

Failure to pass their own budget would be another humiliation for House GOP leaders still smarting from their failed bid to roll back President Obama’s deportation amnesty while funding the Homeland Security Department.

“It would show we haven’t the ability to government at all,” Rep. Matt Salmon, Arizona Republican, said Thursday. “We’ve already had some pretty embarrassing situations, but I think not being able to pass a Republican budget on the floor would be the granddaddy of them all.”

He said it is vital for Republicans to get to reconciliation to highlight their differences with President Obama’s over health care.

“I think it’s one of the most important things — if not the most important thing — that we have to deal with moving forward,” he said.

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