Conservative House members discuss budget, party unity at Hill luncheon

Katie LaPotin, Red Alert PoliticsMarch 20, 2013

During today’s “Conversations with Conservatives” meeting on the Hill earlier today, several conservative members of the House voiced their opinions on the upcoming budget debate in Congress and what they think the GOP needs to do to become more inclusive as a party.

Today’s luncheon was chaired by by Reps. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas), Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho), and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). Other congressmen participating in today’s meeting included Reps. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Trey Radal (R-Fla.).

The primary focus of today’s meeting was the upcoming budget debate, as, for the first time in four years, the House and Senate have both submitted budget proposals. While the group was split on their support for theRepublican budget proposal introduced by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) earlier this month – Huelskamp and Jordan both support the plan while Massie plans to vote no – they all agreed that it was a step in the right direction.

“When you stand firm in conservative principles you can move the debate the right way,” said Jordan.

Labrador added that the goal of the Ryan budget was not to pass the proposal verbatim, but rather to put the House on the right track to balancing a budget in the next decade. ”Let’s implement and pass legislation that gets us to balance in 10 years,” he said.

Along with Massie, a freshman from northern Kentucky, Labrador argued that House Republicans should consider adding the “Boehner rule” from their Williamsburg Accord to the budget plan. The Boehner rule stipulates that any increase in the nation’s debt ceiling must be matched dollar for dollar in spending cuts.

Adding a bit of humor to an otherwise serious conference, Scalise even noted how President Obama found time to create his NCAA March Madness brackets this week, yet is 45 days (and growing) late on delivering his federal budget proposal.

The group also yielded questions on how the Republican party can reform itself to win again on the national stage, a question prompted by the release Monday of the RNC post-mortem report. They all agreed that the party’s focus should be improving its outreach with younger voters and libertarians.

“The Republican party – in order for us to win national elections – we’re not longer a ‘three-legged stool‘, we’re now a ‘four-legged stool,’” Labrador commented, adding that the fourth leg – libertarianism – is very popular among younger voters.

“If we don’t figure out how to have those four legs work together, we’re not gonna win national elections,” he continued.

Labrador also pointed out that the filibuster led by Kentucky Senator Rand Paul earlier this month was the most exciting moment for young conservatives in a long time.

According to a press release issued by Labrador’s office, each of the monthly meetings features different conservative members of Congress to discuss various fiscal issues and domestic policies. The monthly meetings are sponsored in part by the Heritage Foundation.

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