The PJ Tatler

GOP Policy Chairman: Budget Deal 'Baby Steps' Toward Grand Bargain

The chairman of the Republican Policy Committee defended the GOP’s proposed bargain to extend the debt limit with a “no budget, no pay” agreement as “baby steps” toward the party’s goals in a budget agreement.

The “no budget, no pay” concept was the first policy push of the bipartisan, fledgling, small Fix Congress Now Caucus, which formed last year. The bill was introduced by Blue Dog Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.).

“Ideas are not responsible for their owners,” Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.) told PJM on a conference call this morning. “If it’s a good idea we should use that idea, so that’s not an issue to us.”

House GOPs were anticipating a shortened work week, but Democrats postponed their planned retreat until February. Lankford didn’t have a whip count to gauge support on either side of the aisle, but the vote on “No Budget, No Pay” is expected in the early afternoon. It has the support of the White House.

“There’s no tricks, there’s no gimmicks here,” Lankford said of the bill. “We’re simply saying we’re going to do a budget here, which the law requires.”

Fiscal conservatives have indicated they’re not going to mount a fight over the deal. “The Club for Growth will not oppose tomorrow’s vote on the debt ceiling,” Club for Growth President Chris Chocola said in a statement yesterday. “The Club for Growth will, on the other hand, strongly oppose any efforts during the upcoming debate over the continuing resolution and sequester that fail to arrest out-of-control spending and put sensible limits on the growth of government.”

“There is no plan to get out of debt right now,” Lankford said. “…Solutions are the most important issue here. This is baby steps. This is the first step in a long process. We’ve got to start taking the basic baby steps to get us back.”

After the Senate finally passes a budget, Republicans hope to get their priorities in the reconciliation process, with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) leading the GOP negotiators.

Lankford said Republicans are also going to pass again the bill to repeal sequestration that originally passed in the 112th Congress. The New Year’s Eve fiscal cliff deal kicked the sequestration implementation date to March 1.

“There is a willingness to replace sequestration. It has been a bad idea from the beginning,” Lankford said. “This is not just about a cut in defense,” he added, but programs ranging from health research to education where efficiency cuts may be found.