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House GOP Delays Vote on Budget Amendment

Realizing that they did not yet have enough support for passage of their budget amendment, House GOP leaders decided Wednesday to postpone the vote on the cost-cutting legislation until next week.

Republican leaders emerged from a meeting in Speaker Dennis Hastert’s (R-Ill.) office just after 6 p.m. Wednesday to announce their decision after a long day of attempting to rally the troops for a possible Thursday vote on an amendment to the fiscal 2006 budget resolution.

In addition to their previously stated plan to bump the level of mandatory spending cuts via reconciliation to $50 billion, GOP leaders now also plan to include some type of across-the-board discretionary spending cut in the budget amendment. That idea had initially been scuttled earlier in the week following the objections of appropriators, but the leadership soon found that removing that provision cost them more votes than it gained.

“I think our Members want to be sure we’re going beyond mandatory” spending cuts to include discretionary cuts, said Majority Leader Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).

In addition to the mandatory and discretionary cuts, the leaders also plan to further expand the budget amendment by including the “deprogramming” of previously authorized programs and, possibly, rescissions of previously appropriated spending.

“Members would rather have a resolution that would have all four of those points,” Blunt said.

As was the case during a similar gathering Tuesday evening, Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) participated in the leadership meeting despite the fact that he no longer serves as Majority Leader.

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