House GOP Budget Between A Moderate Rock And A Hard-Right Place

House GOP Budget Between A Moderate Rock And A Hard-Right Place
House leadership wants to pass something before August recess, but it's looking less and less likely.

Congressional Republicans are running out of time to check one huge item off their to-do list: pass a budget. It's something they want to at least get out of the House before the August recess, which basically begins July 29.

Getting a budget out as soon as possible is vital because if they don't pass a budget, they can't move on to the linchpin of Speaker Paul Ryan's agenda: tax reform. 

But GOP aides and lawmakers tell Politico they are nowhere near the 218 votes they'll need to pass the floor of the lower chamber. They can only afford to lose 22 Republicans, and currently, support for the budget is waning from both the conservative and moderate wing of the caucus.

The moderates are fighting the $200 billion in mandatory spending cuts to programs like Medicaid and Medicare, saying it complicates tax reform. Rep. Charlie Dent, leader of the moderate Tuesday Group, put it this way: "Trying to use mandatory savings in the same reconciliation instructions is going to make tax reform much harder, not easier. Anybody with a pair of eyes can see this."

The House Freedom Caucus, on the other hand, wants even more spending cuts. Members also want a peek at Ryan's tax reform plan before they sign on to the budget.

House Budget Committee chair Diane Black remains confident, at least publicly, saying: "Nobody thought I could get a budget out of the Budget Committee. I do not give up." 

And the GOP better hope Black can sway enough of those holdouts to get the budget passed. The party hasn't been able to pass any major legislation this year, despite holding all the governing levers. And leaving Washington, D.C., without any big wins is something lawmakers will definitely hear about back home.