"It's imperative that we get a budget out," Rokita said Thursday. "The reason for my amendment was that even though it was not my preferred route, for certain—I like to pay for everything—I knew that we would be worse off without a budget document."
Shortly after 10 p.m., House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy personally came to the committee hearing room to twist arms. He explained to members that failing to pass a budget would make the party look bad and scuttle any chance Republicans have to attempt to dismantle President Obama's health care law through the reconciliation process. But his cajoling fell flat as well, and the committee broke for the night.
The disarray drew jeers from Democrats, who pointed to it as emblematic of the larger dysfunction among House Republicans.
"I don't have the faintest idea what's going on in the Republican caucus right now. I don't know if they have the votes to pass a budget," Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters on Thursday.
It was not until Thursday morning that leaders struck a deal on the way forward. And after the Budget Committee passed its document without Rokita's amendment, Speaker John Boehner announced that leaders would add the amendment in the Rules Committee instead to appease the defense-minded members.
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"The Budget Committee has done good work," Boehner said at a Thursday press conference. "But there is overwhelming support in our conference for providing additional resources to protect our national security. In consultation with Chairman Price, next week the House will consider a rule that reflects those priorities."
In a statement from his office, Scalise said it was "important that we were able to come to an agreement that unites the defense and fiscal hawks so that we can pass a balanced budget that gets our economy back on track. This agreement puts the House in a strong position to pass a unified budget next week."
For all the wrangling, though, defense hawks said they are grateful to GOP leaders for shouldering their concerns, particularly when many believe they were getting short shrift from Price, who they feel was primarily looking out for the fiscal conservatives. Without the upcoming change, members said the resolution would certainly not be able to pass on the House floor.
"The Budget Committee has to take seriously the wishes of defense hawks moving forward because this is by far the largest reason we are here," Rep. Tom Rooney said. "If we are treated the way that we were this past week in the future, it's going to be difficult."
It remains unclear how many votes the strategy will cost leaders among fiscal conservatives. But, engaged for the first time in the week, the House whip team circled the House floor on Thursday to round up support for a budget with the OCO amendment. Leaving town for the weekend, members were optimistic it would pass next week.