FACTBOX-U.S. House factions influence debt/deficit vote
July 28 |
July 28 (Reuters) - On any major piece of legislation that moves through the U.S. Congress, various factions within the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate can influence chances of success or failure.
That has been especially true in the debate over raising the $14.3 trillion debt limit by Aug. 2 in order to avoid a U.S. government default. Here is a rundown of the various factions -- many overlap -- and how they shaped the debate and how they might influence the final vote:
TEA PARTY HOUSE CAUCUS
Led by Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann, many of them are freshmen who rode the wave of anti-government and anti-spending sentiment that swept the country in last year's congressional elections. They claim to have been sent to Washington to shake things up and they did. They dug in their heels on no tax increases and were crucial in pushing President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats as well as establishment Republicans into agreeing to deeper spending cuts than they might otherwise have accepted.
It's unclear how many, if any, of the 60 or so House members who identify themselves as members of the Tea Party Caucus will vote for any final compromise that emerges between the Senate and House.
HOUSE REPUBLICAN STUDY COMMITTEE
This group of more than 175 House Republicans works to advance a conservative social and economic agenda that focuses on limited government and a strong national defense. The group pushed for an earlier House-passed bill that called for $5.8 trillion in spending cuts over a decade, set caps on federal spending and laid the groundwork for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Democratic-led Senate rejected that bill, but the "cut, cap and balance" plan remains a bedrock of House Republican principles.
The group's chairman, Jim Jordan, is firmly opposed to anything that falls short of the "cut, cap and balance" effort.
THE TUESDAY GROUP
This group of roughly 45 center-right House Republicans could be crucial when it comes to winning passage of a debt limit increase. By definition this group of moderates will be crucial to passing any final compromise that emerges between the Republican-led House and the Democratic-led Senate.
The group is led by Representatives Jo Ann Emerson of Missouri and Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania who have expressed concern about a potential default by the United States if Congress fails to raise the debt limit by Aug. 2.
BLUE DOG DEMOCRATS
This group is smaller and less powerful than it was in the last Congress when Democrats controlled the House. But the 25 members of this fiscally conservative group of Democrats will likely provide much needed support for any compromise that reduces deficits and increases the debt ceiling.
THE CONGRESSIONAL PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS
These 75 liberal Democrats rallied against possible cuts to the Medicare and Medicaid healthcare programs for the elderly and poor. They also oppose benefit cuts for the Social Security retirement program.
As Democrats, they may not have much influence with the Republican leadership in control of the House. But they do have President Barack Obama's ear and their opposition to anything he signs into law could hurt him with the party's base and his bid for re-election next year.
If enough Republicans refuse to support final legislation, these liberals could step in and provided the needed cushion.
REPUBLICAN SENATOR JIM DEMINT
As head of the Senate Conservatives Fund, Senator Jim DeMint has become a quiet, but effective force among Senate Republicans. Freshmen Senators Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Mike Lee, Pat Toomey and Ron Johnson all received financial support from his fund.
DeMint could stand in the way of quick consideration of any final deal and force Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to use precious time ahead of the Aug. 2 deadline to work through Senate procedural hurdles to get a final measure passed. (Reporting by Donna Smith; Editing by Eric Walsh)
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