Jeffries says House Republicans’ budget plan in ‘witness protection program’

Chuck Schumer, Martin Heinrich, Hakeem Jeffries
From left, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., and Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., talk to reporters about the Joint Economic Committee Report on the Republican Party’s debt limit position, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, March 23, 2023. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Jeffries says House Republicans’ budget plan in ‘witness protection program’

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Democrats upped their criticism Thursday of House Republicans for not producing their version of a federal budget, laying out specific spending cuts, ahead of the debt ceiling showdown.

“The Republican budget plan is hiding in the witness protection program. It’s in an undisclosed location,” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) said during a joint press conference to discuss a new Joint Economic Committee report produced by Democratic staff. “They have failed to present it at all. They’re not serious about moving forward in a sensible way.”

CONGRESSIONAL CONSERVATIVES GIRD FOR BATTLE WITH BIDEN OVER DEBT CEILING AND SPENDING

Jeffries’s line of attack has become a common Democratic refrain as the parties prepare to do battle over spending and the nation’s borrowing limit.

“Show me your budget, I’ll show you mine,” President Joe Biden challenged House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) earlier this year.

In the absence of a budget from the House Republican Conference, the Democrats’ focus has been on spending cuts proposed by the Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative lawmakers.

Democrats remain firm in their stance that House Republicans should raise the nation’s borrowing limit with no conditions. House Republicans continue to reject that position and assert they won’t pass a debt ceiling increase unless they have an agreement with the White House on budget cuts. Senate Democrats also continue to call on House Republicans to put out their plan. Meanwhile, Senate Republicans are waiting in the wings, leaving it all up to Biden and McCarthy.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) opened the door slightly to cuts outside the context of the debt ceiling.

“But that should not be part of the debt ceiling. Look, we are going to have to come together, Democrats and Republicans, and hopefully pass a budget, not a [continuing resolution] but an omnibus. We did it last year, and we will do it again. I’m not going to negotiate ahead of time,” he added.

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Behind the scenes, McCarthy has started to meet with members who represent the different ideological corners of his caucus.

At this point, there have been no major breakthroughs, and House Republicans still have not coalesced around which spending cuts they want to demand, which could be a highly political process.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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