U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget passed the House of Representatives on Thursday, with more bipartisan opposition than ever and only three Republican votes to spare.
10 Republicans joined the 197 Democrats in the House for a final vote of 221-207, making it the closest call in the three years of votes on Ryan’s budgets.
The “no” votes on the Republican side were an unsual mix; including hardline conservatives — Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Paul Broun (R-Ga.), Rick Crawford (R-Ark.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), and David McKinley (R-W.V.) — and three blue-state Republicans — Randy Forbes (R-Va.), Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.), and John Heck (R-Nev.) — who are perhaps worried that support for Ryan’s budget would be used against them in 2014.
Leading up to the vote, both parties expected the budget to pass. But it became clear on Wednesday that Ryan did not have as much wiggle room as years past.
Massie scoffed at the vote Wednesday, telling reporters that it was a “pretend vote” and that Ryan’s plan does not cut spending fast enough. Broun attacked the Ryan budget for the same reasons in a New York Times op-ed this week.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, meanwhile, has already launched used the budget to attack 2014 House targets. Some of those potential pickoffs — including freshman Reps. David Joyce (R-Ohio) and Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) — still hadn’t made up their minds as of Thursday morning about whether they would vote in favour of the budget. They both ended up supporting the budget.
Republican and Democratic House aides said such skittishness is not unusual, though Republicans said it was disconcerting before such a big vote to not have enough outward support. 10 Republican members of the House contacted by Business Insider on Wednesday said they were still undecided and reviewing the budget.
Still, one Democratic aide told Business Insider that if Ryan had sensed any real trouble in passage, he or House Speaker John Boehner likely would have been more active in whipping votes behind the scenes.
And in the end, Ryan swung the vote in his favour with the support of conservatives like Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kans.), who voted against the Ryan budget last year, but supported it this time around, and Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), who voted for the Ryan budget both this year and last year despite objections to what he called its slow pace of balance.
Both Huelskamp and Brooks voted Wednesday for the Republican Study Committee’s budget , which claimed to balance the nation’s books in just four years.
But Brooks said that the Ryan budget was, in essence, the next best thing.
“I’m going to vote for the budget that most quickly balances,” Brooks told Business Insider Wednesday. “If America’s elected leadership in Washington does not become financially responsible very soon, then our country will suffer and fall into an economic abyss like we have never seen before in history.”
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