GOP Civil War Erupts Over Budget Deal

Republicans in the Senate are unsure about the new budget deal.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013, following a meeting of Republicans.
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House Republicans and Democrats are on track to put partisan politics aside and pass a narrow budget deal Thursday that will keep the country from another federal government shutdown in January and set spending limits for the next year.

The key vote, however, is once again tearing the Republican Party apart and thrusting the GOP's civil war into the spotlight.

While House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and many in the Republican caucus have stood firmly beside House budget lead negotiator Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Senate Republicans appear less willing to vote 'yes' on the compromise bill.

[READ: John Boehner Calls Conservative Groups 'Ridiculous']

Facing pressure and a primary challenge in 2014 from the right flank of his party, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., hedged his position Wednesday on Capitol Hill, telling reporters he still was undecided on the bill.

Meanwhile, Senate Conservatives, a campaign group supporting McConnell's primary opponent Matt Bevin, besmirched the minority leader in a statement before McConnell took a stand.

"Mitch McConnell may vote against the deal so he can pretend to be a conservative, but don't be fooled. He wants the deal to pass. He made it clear that he won't fight the Democrats on spending and he forced his party to surrender," the notice said.

A number of key House Republicans have announced they will support the bill. In the Senate, however, a growing list of lawmakers has rejected it, including potential 2016 Republican presidential contenders Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rand Paul, R-Ky.

The narrow $85 billion budget deal will replace $63 billion of the automatic budget cuts known as the sequester over the next two years. It also sets spending levels at $1.012 trillion and $1.014 trillion in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

[ALSO: Conservative Groups Trash Emerging Budget Deal]

 

The deal is far from the "grand bargain" the White House and some on Capitol Hill would have liked to see. But even without sweeping reforms to the country's entitlement programs or the tax code, lawmakers hope replacing 60 percent of the automatic cuts over the next few years can spur economic growth and give defense and domestic programs, like Head Start and government-funded medical research programs, a chance to recover from the cuts already levied.

Republicans are not the only ones hesitant to vote for the compromise deal. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had to rally her Democratic colleagues Thursday morning during a party caucus meeting to get them onboard with the plan. Many were disappointed the compromise deal brokered on the budget did not include an extension of long-term unemployment benefits.

"Embrace the suck," she told members during the closed-door meeting, according to a report from Politico.

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