Freedom Caucus votes to block GOP budget plans

Freedom Caucus votes to block GOP budget plans
© Greg Nash

The House Freedom Caucus on Monday voted to oppose the House GOP’s budget strategy, throwing up a major hurdle to the party’s attempt to begin passing spending bills.

The conservative group said it opposed the plan presented by the House Budget Committee earlier that night, ending a weeks-long attempt by GOP leaders to unite the party behind a budget blueprint.

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The move cuts off a crucial voting bloc that the party needs to begin passing spending bills, a priority of House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanGOP leaders pitch children's health funding in plan to avert shutdown Lawmakers see shutdown’s odds rising Fix what we’ve got and make Medicare right this year MORE (R-Wis.).

“As a group, we have decided that we cannot support the current budget,” the caucus wrote in a statement Monday evening, referring to a discretionary spending limit of $1.07 trillion set by President Obama and former House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDems face hard choice for State of the Union response Even some conservatives seem open to return to earmarks Overnight Finance: Trump, lawmakers take key step to immigration deal | Trump urges Congress to bring back earmarks | Tax law poised to create windfall for states | Trump to attend Davos | Dimon walks back bitcoin criticism MORE (R-Ohio) last fall.

The budget committee, led by Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.), had planned to stick by last fall’s controversial spending levels while vowing to find at least $30 billion in spending cuts elsewhere.

House Republicans can only afford to lose about two dozen votes if they hope to pass a bill without Democratic support. Without the 40-member Freedom Caucus, the budget committee’s hopes of passing a budget on the House floor are all but impossible.

The House Budget Committee is planning to hold its budget markup on Wednesday.

“We continue to hope that we can work with the House Republican conference to write a conservative budget that reduces spending while prioritizing our defense needs and the priorities of the American people,” the Freedom Caucus statement reads.