House GOP furious with Senate
By Erik Wasson and Russel Berman - 10/12/13 10:53 AM ET
House Republicans were furious with Senate Republicans and President Obama on Saturday for trying to cut a debt ceiling deal that leaves them out in the cold.
Members emerged from a conference meeting saying Obama had double-crossed them by breaking off talks in order to shop for a better deal from the Senate GOP.
They said the deal, formulated by centrist Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine.), would never get House GOP approval.
“They are trying to jam us with the Senate and we are not going to roll over and take that,” House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said after a GOP conference meeting.
“We won't support it,” he said of the Collins proposal, which would hike the debt ceiling until Jan. 15, 2014, and fund the government for six months at the level of the sequester.
In exchange, it would delay for two years a tax on medical devices used to pay for ObamaCare, and strengthen efforts to ensure people who get tax subsidies to buy healthcare insurance are eligible to do so.
It would also set up a conference of House and Senate members to discuss a longer-term budget deal. The conference would have to report back by Jan. 15.
Ryan said the White House was negotiating with the Senate but not the House.
“We just learned about what's going on this morning. We didn't say anything yesterday because we told the White House we would not comment on the status of negotiation, negotiations that quite frankly weren't taking place with the House,” he said.
He added that the Collins plan had “too many” problems to go into.
“I'm disappointed that the president has rejected the offer that we put on the table,” Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told reporters as he left the House GOP meeting. “I know he is trying to see which Republican senator he can pick off in the Senate. I hope that the Senate Republicans stand strong so that we can speak with one voice.”
“All of us are trying to resolve this problem,” Cantor added, “and we are trying to see a resolution as quickly as possible.”
If the Senate does reach a deal with Obama, it could be difficult for the House to reject it.
The Treasury Department has warned it will not have enough money to meet U.S. commitments as of Oct. 17. With no hike to the debt ceiling by then, there is a chance the U.S. could default on its debt, or not make Social Security payments or checks to the military.
The division between the House and Senate Republicans has also given the White House increased leverage. Polls also show the Republican Party’s approval rating plummeting, raising pressure on the GOP to concede. And Senate Republicans have been cool to the House GOP plan.
Rank-and-file members expressed anger at the White House and frustration with the Senate GOP.
“Clearly the president can't be trusted,” said Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.). “It is up to Senate Republicans to grow a backbone and stand with House Republicans like they said they were going to do.”
Schock said that the Collins plan is flawed because it does not make big changes to ObamaCare.
“The beef is that..not only does it not do anything substantive to ObamaCare, more importantly it does not do anything to long term spending. There are no changes to Medicare, no changes to Social Security,” he said.
Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.) said Obama is taking advantage of the split between Senate and House Republicans.
“He has gone to the Senate Republicans and he's shopping,” Radel said. He said the country is now facing some "pretty serious consequences" because of “Obama's behavior.”