By Erik Wasson - 01/22/13 06:19 PM EST
House conservatives on Tuesday warned that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other House leaders will have "hell to pay" if the GOP does not produce a 2014 budget that balances within 10 years.
They are also warning leaders that they must stand firm to ensure the $85 billion in 2013 cuts outlined in the 2011 debt deal take effect.
Taking a firm stance on the so-called sequester cuts could lead to a government shutdown after March 27.
Conservatives have been assured by leaders that the top-line number for 2013 discretionary spending will be lowered from $1.043 trillion to $974 billion unless Democrats agree to mandatory cuts to replace the sequester.
The current stopgap continuing resolution expires March 27 and the government would shut down after that unless Republicans and Democrats in Congress agrees on a new top-line number for the rest of the year.
“In many ways in 90 days this is going to be the ultimate test of the relevancy of those we entrust with leadership positions. I believe there will be hell to pay if they squander this,” said Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) on Tuesday.
“They have caved every single time in the last two years,” Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) said of the House GOP leadership. “If they cave again they’re going to have some problems in the House.”
Labrador did not vote for Boehner to be speaker but has since had at least one private meeting with him. Schweikert, despite being removed from the key Financial Services Committee last year for bucking leadership, did vote for Boehner this month.
In a reference to the defections Boehner suffered in his reelection as Speaker, Labrador said there are members of the Republican conference who are "very dissatisfied."
“I think they have to prove themselves,” he said of the leadership.
Last year, Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) budget did not balance until nearly 2040. Ryan said Friday that he will work to produce one that balances within 10 years this time.
Labrador said conservatives would accept a 2013 spending deal that allows the $85 billion sequester to take place, that shifts defense cuts onto domestic programs or that replaces the discretionary cuts with cuts to mandatory spending like entitlements.
He said that he also understands that leaders will seek dollar-for-dollar spending cuts in the next round of debt ceiling talks in May.
The House this week will vote to suspend the debt ceiling until May 19.
Schweikert (R-Ariz.) said he would welcome cuts to mandatory but Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) said he is concerned that cuts to mandatory can be back-loaded in later years.
Amash and other very conservative members say that the promises leaders made need to be met and exceeded.
Amash is demanding more assurances from leaders on the budget.
“I think we haven’t been given enough assurances that once you reach balance in ten years you stay at or near balance,” he said.
He also wants leaders to balance the budget without counting tax rate increases included in the fiscal-cliff deal, which raised $630 billion mostly by increasing takes those making more than $400,000 a year.
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) said he wants leaders to promise to bring tax reform and Medicare reform bills to the floor to flesh out the budget and to condition a debt ceiling increase on the House and Senate actually agreeing to a budget, rather than passing competing budget resolutions.
Updated at 3:05 p.m.