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Topics: House of Representatives

House conservatives to leadership: Stop negotiating with Democrats

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Beltway Confidential,Congress,House of Representatives,Republican Party,Democratic Party,Ashe Schow

Conservative House Republicans on Wednesday had a simple message for GOP leadership: Stop negotiating with Democrats. "When you negotiate with Democrats in Washington, D.C., and you think you have an agreement, at the last minute they are always willing to move the goal post," said Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, at a monthly press briefing.

Labrador explained that after amendments had been voted on and a bipartisan agreement had been reached, President Obama said he would veto the bill and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., urged Democrats to vote against it.

Labrador, along with Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., specifically called out House leadership's negotiations with Democrats over the farm bill, which failed to pass last week. Some members voted against the bill's cuts to the food stamp program, others for not cutting food stamps enough.

"After the vote," Salmon added, "I said that maybe leadership will wake up tomorrow and realize that we're a lot easier to negotiate with than the Democrats are - even though they keep going back and doing that time and time again."

The call from conservatives to be part of negotiations is nothing new. Conservatives have said for years that leadership cuts them out of negotiations in favor of talks with Democrats. In 2011, House leadership negotiated a transportation bill with Democrats, which was opposed by conservative groups, instead of creating a bill conservatives could approve. "They actually ignore the conservatives because they think they have a bipartisan agreement with the Democrats," Labrador said on Wednesday.

Earlier this year, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said that his "rear end got burnt" in negotiations with Democrats over the fiscal cliff. The problem comes when House leadership produces a bill that continues the status quo. Conservatives and Tea Party groups come out against the bill, but instead of incorporating their ideas, leadership begins negotiating with Democrats. Bills then move far to the left rather than the center.

"Stop negotiating with Democrats," Labrador said. "Start doing what is the right policy - the right conservative policy for America - we can get something passed, and then we can go to a conference committee and hopefully out of the conference we can get something that is a little bit more bipartisan."

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Ashe Schow

Commentary Writer
The Washington Examiner