While the budget "blame game" between Congress and the White House intensifies, House Republicans were denied the chance Tuesday for a vote on their deficit reduction plan.
"It fell $80 billion short of the $500 billion cut required," House Speaker Tom Foley told regional reporters at a breakfast meeting.Because the GOP plan didn't meet rules outlined in an earlier budget resolution, the House Rules Committee will not allow a vote on it. So Foley said the House Democratic plan is the only one that will go to a vote in the House. Republicans were expected to protest.
Foley said the ill-fated Republican package was another example of Republicans and President Bush not doing enough to solve budget problems while trying to pin all the blame on the Democratic-controlled Congress.
Foley's comments came after Bush on Monday said, "It's the Congress that has the action (on the budget) . . . It is up in the Congress and it is the Congress to blame."
But Foley returned the serve by saying White House budget negotiators were the ones who delayed work on the budget the most.
While Foley expected easy passage of the House Democratic budget in the House, he expects a much tougher time striking a compromise with the Senate that both houses could pass and have Bush sign by Friday night.
The House Democratic package seeks to spread the burden of deficit reduction to the wealthy but includes provisions that would raise income taxes for all Americans. The bipartisan Senate package relies on higher taxes that many Democrats argue hit harder at the middle class than the rich.
Foley and many others expect a final compromise may look much like the proposal that budget summiteers proposed, but which the House rejected.