House and Senate leaders announced Tuesday that they have agreed on a compromise to fund the government into 2013. By forgoing a congressional fight over spending levels, Republicans will fund the implementation of President Barack Obama's health care law and forgo an opportunity to further cut government spending in 2012.
The Republican-controlled House barely passed the Budget Control Act in 2011, which pegged government spending at $1.047 trillion per year. In agreeing to stand by the agreement for another six months, the GOP is betting that their party will win in November--which will allow them more opportunities to pass their policy agenda.
If it means avoiding a possible government shutdown before the election, Republicans say it's worth it.
"We'll swallow it hard," said South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan, a Republican freshman who voted against the Budget Control Act last year. "As long as it's a six-month CR and it doesn't have a whole lot of other monkey business tied to it."
For the plan to work in the Republicans' favor, several components must fall into place: Mitt Romney must be elected, and the party must gain a majority in the Senate and maintain their dominance in the House. Publicly, Republicans say they like their odds.
"You take the cards as they're played," said Georgia Rep. Tom Price, chairman of the Republican Policy Committee. "Right now I think what we see--what I see--when I travel across the country, literally, is an America that is frustrated and extremely disappointing in this administration and the Democratic leadership that they've seen. I believe they will turn out in significant numbers to put in place a House and Senate and president that will embrace the fundamental principles that made us great."
And in the meantime, Republicans are willing to support--temporarily--a measure that funds the health care law they have voted to repeal and defund more than 30 times with the hope that the plan works out in their favor.
"How many times do you expect us to bang our head against the wall?" said Maryland Rep. Andy Harris when asked how Republicans felt about effectively supporting the law this one time. "We have attempted defunding Obamacare. The Senate will not compromise on defunding the president's Affordable Care Act. I will tell you, what it's going to boil down to is on November 6, the Americans are going to decide if they want to the Affordable Care Act."
Added Price: "From a policy standpoint, we have made the statement clearly in the House over and over and over and over and over again that if we had a willing partner on the other side of the Capitol and a willing president that we would repeal all of the legislation."