By Erik Wasson -The Hill
Chastened GOP leaders promised Thursday to find a full $100 billion in spending cuts after freshmen lawmakers torpedoed a proposal that they said betrayed the partyâ€™s â€œPledge to America.â€
In a stinging rebuke to party leadership, Republicans on the Appropriations Committee abandoned plans to seek only $74 billion in cuts just hours before their continuing resolution was set to be unveiled.
The abrupt reversal set off a mad scramble among Republican staffers to scrape together the extra cuts in time to unveil the final spending resolution by Friday.
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) said Thursday evening that the GOP had come to a verbal agreement on a path forward on a continuing resolution with $100 billion in cuts.
The reversal was a clear victory for Tea Party-backed freshmen who had resisted the $74 billion cut despite endorsements from Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and other members of the party leadership.
The turnaround was also a setback for the partyâ€™s leading fiscal hawk and rising star, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who unveiled the $74 billion spending plan last week and immediately faced questions about whether the proposal lived up to his tough talk about federal spending.
Cantor said Thursday evening that the caucus was â€œunitingâ€ around a plan to cut $100 billion, while Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) commended the 87 freshmen lawmakers for pushing through a tough decision for America.
â€œWhat we heard here was a commitment to the $100 billion reduction number,â€ Cantor said. â€œThat is what we said we were going to do and thatâ€™s what we are going to do.â€
One House aide said the GOPâ€™s failure to pass an extension of the Patriot Act this week alerted the House leadership to the growing dissatisfaction of their members.
â€œI think the Patriot Act failure woke up leadership to a rising problem,â€ the aide said.
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