Senate Democrats

How It’s Playing: “Checkmate,” “Boehner’s Weakened Hand,” “No More Good Moves For Boehner In Spending Fight”

The news coverage today is clear: Republican defections show that Speaker Boehner must work with moderate Republicans and Democrats to forge a compromise that makes responsible cuts while keeping American jobs safe. It’s time for Speaker Boehner to abandon the extreme tea party members who continue to push for a government shutdown unless they get everything they want, and work with Democrats towards a bipartisan budget that invests in what makes us grow and cuts what doesn’t.

Politico: Boehner’s Weakened Hand. “Tuesday’s breakdown in Republican discipline weakens Speaker John Boehner’s hand in White House budget talks and raises the chances of a government shutdown next month unless he and President Barack Obama greatly step up their game… ‘I think we have to have a fight. I think this is the moment,’ Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) told POLITICO prior to the vote. ‘Things don’t change around here until they have to, and Republicans ought to draw a line in the sand.’ Leadership aides would argue later that Republican losses piled up more at the end once passage was assured. But the bottom line is the 85 Democratic ‘yea’ votes saved the speaker’s bill.” LINK

Talking Points Memo: Checkmate: No Good Moves For Boehner In Spending Fight. “But Tuesday’s outcome was nonetheless a mixed one for Boehner. It illustrated a reality he’d hoped to escape – that a large chunk of his caucus won’t vote with him if he compromises. Indeed, the 54 Republicans who voted against the stop-gap legislation put him in an unenviable box: Either he kowtows to his right flank, and pushes initiatives that can’t pass in the Senate; or he abandons them, as Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has suggested, and passes consensus legislation. The latter option, however, would require significant concessions to win Democratic votes, and further delegitimize himself with the Tea Party base.” LINK

Politico: Some In GOP Grow Tired Of Right Wing. “Some veteran Republican House members are pushing back against conservative deficit hawks who are pushing for endlessly deep spending cuts, saying the right wing of the party is creating unnecessary divisions for the GOP majority. While the 54 Republicans who voted against the most recent stopgap spending bill didn’t derail the legislation, some GOP lawmakers are becoming increasingly wary of a faction that rejects substantial spending cuts because they want deeper ones or the inclusion of divisive social policy riders. Many of the critics are close to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who struggles more each day to keep his majority unified as a three-month spending showdown threatens to spill into April.” LINK

Los Angeles Times: Republicans Split, But House Approves Stopgap Budget Bill. “The GOP-led House approved a short-term spending bill Tuesday but only after dozens of Republicans rejected the measure, forcing party leaders to rely on Democrats to achieve passage and help skirt a threatened government shutdown… With House conservatives opposing their party’s stopgap proposal as inadequate, the vote also signals trouble ahead for House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) as he negotiates a long-term deal with Democrats on behalf of a deeply split Republican caucus. The White House, meanwhile, said it was time to resolve the budget impasse ‘in a sensible way.’” LINK

National Journal: Is Boehner Ready to Defy GOP Conservatives? “There were enough GOP defections, however, that the bill could not have passed without Democratic help.” LINK

CQ Today: Boehner Faces Tough Choice After CR Vote. “Those competing forces leave Boehner with some tough choices… Boehner lost more than a fifth of his caucus, with 54 Republicans voting no. But the bill passed anyway, with 85 Democrats voting in favor, including many members of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition and House appropriators, such as Norm Dicks of Washington and Nita M. Lowey of New York.” LINK

The Hill: House Passes Stopgap Measure; 54 Republicans Vote Contrary To Party. “The 54 Republican “no” votes stood in sharp contrast with the vote on the last stopgap measure, on March 1, when only six Republicans voted against their leaders… GOP leaders whipped hard on the vote, convincing most of the freshmen members to back the legislation. Still, the number of defections led Democrats in the House and Senate to argue the GOP is in a weakened negotiating position over a longer-term spending bill.”  LINK

Bloomberg: Republican Defections Signal Difficulty Ahead in Budget Talks. “Defections among rank-and-file House Republicans on the latest short-term U.S. spending bill exposed divisions that may complicate negotiations with Democrats on a broader budget plan. In yesterday’s House vote, 54 Republicans opposed a measure to fund the government until April 8, forcing their leaders to rely on support from Democrats to pass the bill, 271-158.” LINK