Archive for August 28th, 2013

The House Republicans’ ‘Jedi Council’ seeks a way to balance the federal budget — but the path they’ll take is unclear at best

August 28, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
Aug. 28, 2013

Last week, Jonathan Strong, a National Review Online political reporter, published a feature on the so-called Jedi Council. This group of Republican members of the House of Representatives formed in 2011 and has been meeting regularly ever since to plot their caucus’ budget strategy. The group currently has five members: Paul Ryan (Wisconsin), Jeb Hensarling (Texas), Tom Price (Georgia), Jim Jordan (Ohio) and Steve Scalise (Louisiana).

Ryan, of course, was the Republican nominee for vice president last year and chairs the House Budget Committee. All four of the other council members have led the Republican Study Committee, a conservative House caucus. Hensarling, a lawyer and businessman, led the RSC in 2007-08. The following two years, the committee was led by Price, an orthopedic surgeon. Jordan, a former Ohio state legislator with a law degree and has experience wrestling and coaching in college, took the reins in 2011. Scalise, a former systems engineer and Louisiana state legislator, did so this year.

As Strong tells it, the council concluded after Obama’s re-election that a budget fight in early 2013 would be disastrous for Republicans.

“There was a feeling from the five of them that if they had a debt-limit fight in February, it was inevitable that they were going to lose,” says a prominent conservative with knowledge of their deliberations.

The group formed a plan to “re-sequence” the budget fights to give the GOP more leverage. The idea was to punt on the debt ceiling for a while, let the automatic sequester cuts go into effect, pass the GOP’s budget, and then gear up for a big debt-ceiling brawl in the summer. Read the rest of this entry »

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