In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Can Republicans Stomach Funding The Obama Administration To Avoid A Government Shutdown?


"I'm strongly pushing to have mine continue to be part of the final package because it got such an overwhelming bipartisan vote," says Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), whose amendment defunding certain Obama administration advisory positions (or as Republicans prefer it "czars") passed with the help of several Democrats.

Scalise says Republicans will fight hard to keep these provisions in the final spending bill, and then return again for the next budget fight to extract more flesh.

"Ultimately we know that the real battle is with the budget," Scalise told me. "And however the CRs, short-term, long-term, playout, the real longer-term policy is going to be [addressed] in the budget in the next few months."

The House GOP will have allies in the Senate pushing to include as many of these through as possible.

"[W]hat I'd like to see is us to adopt the House position," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters at a weekly Capitol briefing Tuesday afternoon. "There seems to be some reluctance to do that on the part of the administration and Senate Democrats, so we'll keep talking about how to go forward.... I like what the House did. I think most of my members did as well. We don't control the government, so we'll see where we go from here after the two years."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid knows this will become a sticking point. "We'll look at every one of them," he said at his own press conference minutes later. "Those that I've seen are terribly mischievous and wrongheaded and one-sided."

Certainly some House Republicans will suffer quietly as their riders get stripped away. It's just a matter of how many.

Freshman Rep. Dave Schweikert (R-AZ) says he imagines Republicans will vote for the final spending bill, even if it doesn't deny funds to the health care law.

"You'll probably see us do our very best to defund it, but at the end of the day it does come down to the math, and were we able to change the direction of spending," he told reporters during a House vote Tuesday.

"I don't think there will be a lot of anger depending on what that topline dollar amount is," he said. "That's why they're working on the 2012 budget.... It's not like this was our only bite at the apple."

About The Author


Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at