Senate Republican leaders are keeping their distance from a budget proposal their House GOP counterparts sent to President Obama on Monday, which included $800 billion in unspecified new tax revenues, and hundreds of billions of dollar in cuts to domestic spending priorities, including benefit cuts to Social Security and Medicare.
“I have no particular observation other than that I commend the House Republican leadership for trying to move the process along and getting to the point where hopefully we can have a real discussion,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) when asked for his position on the House GOP plan at his weekly Capitol briefing.Every member of the House GOP leadership team endorsed the framework, which was quickly and loudly panned by conservative activists and elected officials including GOP conference member Sen. Jim Demint (R-SC).
McConnell’s reluctance to take a position on the proposal reflects the extent to which the prospect of yielding to Obama on tax revenues, even in a modest way, splits the entire Republican Party. It also comes at a time when he is gearing up for his own re-election in 2014.
But he’s not the only GOP leader keeping quiet about the House plan.
“I don’t think Republican senators help that process by becoming outside commentators on what they’re offering,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), number five in the GOP leadership hierarchy, told reporters in the Capitol on Tuesday. “I don’t have any position on the Boehner proposal.”