Conservatives backing Ryan's budget plan to avoid automatic defense cuts

Conservatives in the House say they are not objecting to the House Republican budget using reconciliation to replace some of the $500 billion in automatic cuts to defense spending, making it unlikely that sequestration will become an obstacle for the GOP budget to get enough votes in the House next week.

Some conservatives said they would have cut further than House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), whose plan cuts $18 billion in 2013 and $261 billion over 10 years by instructing six committees to find savings through budget reconciliation, but they were nonetheless backing Ryan’s plan to avoid the automatic cuts to defense.

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Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said he supported reconciliation, adding that he wanted $97 billion in discretionary spending cuts — the amount reduced under the sequester for defense and non-defense spending in 2013 — in addition to the reconciliation reductions

“We should have done both,” Jordan told The Hill.

The RSC plans to offer its own budget amendment with a 2013 spending cap that is $97 billion lower than that in the Ryan plan.

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), who said he will support the Ryan budget, said “it’s likely that people like me would have taken even greater measures.”

“But I am convinced that Paul [Ryan] made the effort to judicate sequestration because he understands how serious a threat it represents to the country,” Franks said.

Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said called the reconciliation plan a “bombshell” that would make sure sequestration is dealt with. “No one wants to see sequestration,” Lankford said. “This gives the capacity to get real decisions.”

House Republican leaders are growing increasingly confident they will have the votes to pass the budget, after it narrowly passed out of committee Wednesday evening.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said at a news conference Thursday that “we never should have had the sequester,” blaming President Obama for insisting it be included in the August debt-limit deal.

“That's where the problem started,” Boehner said. “I always thought that the supercommittee had a real chance to do good work to produce savings so that the sequester wouldn't kick in.”

On the Armed Services Committee, Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) said he supported Ryan’s plan when it was released Tuesday.

McKeon, who had an extended conversation with Ryan on the House floor Thursday, has a separate plan to reverse sequestration in 2013 by cutting federal workers, but he said Ryan’s method “is consistent with my call to avert sequestration.”

Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio), who said he was undecided Thursday morning but later said he will vote for Ryan’s budget, suggested it should be a starting point.

“This budget resolution should just be a big vague roadmap, and the more specific you get all you do is lard up all these stupid arguments for the other side,” LaTourette said.

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