A landmark budget agreement that passed in the U.S. House on Thursday faces certain death in the Senate unless at least five Republicans step up to support it – but so far there are no takers at all.
The GOP's Senate leaders plan to launch a procedural effort to kill the plan over a laundry list of objections – including a claim that it short-changes military veterans and other government retirees.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin conceded that he needs to find Republicans who will vote for the measure after Republicans announced their intention Thursday night to block the deal.
'We need Republican votes to pass the budget agreement, period,' Durbin told reporters on Thursday. 'We need at least five. And I’m hoping that there will be more than that.'
Durbin, an Illinois Democrat and the third-most powerful Senate leader, acknowledged that 'there are not five Republicans who have announced they’re for it.'
In fact, no Republican senators have publicly said that they will vote in favor of the agreement that Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray unveiled Tuesday evening.
The GOP's three most senior senators, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have announced that they will vote 'no.'
Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, all considered top-tier presidential contenders in 2016, are all lined up against the measure.
Of course, not Republican in the Senate can be labeled as “tea party.” Mitch McConnell, for example, has been openly speaking against the tea party. But the fact remains that they probably need, and know they need, tea party votes to remain in office.
This should give us some hope. Even those who oppose and resent us still acknowledge that the tea party has real political power. In other words, it is not just “outside groups,” as John Boehner claimed. Real voters want real budgetary reform.