• McConnell, Boehner, and Obama to Talk Budget
  • October 26, 2015
  • Law Firm: McDonald Hopkins LLC - Cleveland Office
  • The conservatives who forced Boehner out can add spending to the list of unintended consequences of their "success." With the most conservative members clamoring for deeper spending cuts, Republican leaders have opened negotiations with President Obama to actually raise the spending caps.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke last week with Boehner and President Obama to begin negotiations that will raise the sequestration spending caps over the next two years, McConnell told reporters Tuesday.

    That phone call marks the first step by Republicans in responding to a months-long filibuster push by Democrats, who refused to take up any spending bills until the majority agreed to raise spending caps on nondefense programs. Republicans had previously agreed to raise the caps only for defense spending, a no-go for Democrats, who worry that such a concession will only lead to deep cuts to the party’s favored programs.

    The move isn't entirely surprising. McConnell warned his party just two weeks ago that they would have to negotiate with Democrats on the spending caps. What is unknown is how far likely incoming Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) will go in order to make a deal with Democrats, particularly considering the pressure he is likely to feel from House conservatives.

    McConnell said Thursday that he hopes to set new top-line spending levels for both fiscal years 2016 and 2017, allowing Congress to go through the regular appropriations process next year and pass 12 spending bills - one of McConnell’s major goals as leader - rather than passing another series of continuing resolutions as the two chambers have repeatedly done over the last several years.

    Democrats have repeatedly made it clear that they will not accept the planned sequestration cuts next year, going as far as to suggest they would be willing to shutdown the government over the spending caps.