By Russell Berman - 04/02/14 11:53 AM EDT
The House GOP’s top vote-counter said Wednesday the latest budget authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) would pass when it hits the floor next week.
“It’ll pass,” Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said during a leadership press conference, answering a reporter’s question that was directed at Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
Ten Republicans voted against the budget in 2013, and the party can afford to lose 16 if all Democrats oppose it, as expected. Two Republicans who voted for last year’s version have told The Hill they are leaning against this proposal, in part because it contains a bipartisan spending level for 2015 that they and 60 other GOP lawmakers opposed in December.
Boehner told reporters that the Ryan budget was “essentially the same” as in past years and that leaders face “the same challenges we always have” in getting the votes to pass it.
This proposal would cut $5.1 trillion in spending over a decade and would balance the budget in part by relying on a broader economic projection method that Democrats have derided as “a gimmick.”
The budget calls again for a repeal of ObamaCare but does not detail a replacement. Boehner and other top Republicans were unfazed on Wednesday by the president’s announcement that 7.1 million people had signed up for private insurance through the law’s exchanges, surpassing a closely watched benchmark set by analysts.
“President Obama wants everyone to now believe that ObamaCare is now a success,” Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said. “Well, ObamaCare is not a success to millions who lost their healthcare policies that they liked. ObamaCare is not a success for those families who want to see the doctors that they want to see, not that Washington wants them to see. ObamaCare is not a success to families who have seen their costs skyrocket and their quality of care diminish.”
The House will vote this week on legislation to repeal the law’s 30-hour work week rule defining a full-time employee, which Republicans say has led to lost jobs.
Boehner said the party is still working to find “consensus” on a replacement for the law and that it would seek to address a charge from Democrats that millions of people would lose coverage if Republicans succeeded in scrapping ObamaCare, with consequences in coming elections.
“Our job is to show the American people we have better solutions. We’re working to build a consensus to do that, and when we have something to talk about, we’ll show it to you,” Boehner said.
He added: “When we outline how we would repeal the bill and what we would replace it with, you’d see that our intent here is to take care of the American people and protect them as opposed to harm them, as the president’s bill has done.”