Berg “undecided” on Boehner plan as House resumes debate

1:30 p.m.

FARGO – Berg spokeswoman Alee Lockman told me minutes ago Berg remains “undecided” about House Speaker John Boehner’s debt plan.

With ongoing debate yesterday and revised legislation this morning, Berg “doesn’t want to commit to how he wants to vote until he knows what he’s voting on,” Lockman siad.

“Before he commits North Dakota’s vote he wants to sit down, review the legislation, meet with other members, hear from North Dakotans and know the impact it’s going to have,” she said.

Lockman said Berg was indeed among the holdouts yesterday evening. He spent time talking with congressional leaders and other members “to make sure he is fully informed on the legislation,” she said.

The rules for today’s debate were just released, Lockman said, and floor action on the latest revision of Boehner’s plan is expected later this evening.

As of now, Berg has no plans to speak during this afternoon’s debate on the House floor, Lockman said.

11:10 a.m.

Paging Rick Berg: Where do you stand on Boehner’s debt plan?

Rick Berg

FARGO – Amid the debt-reduction debate on Capitol Hill, dozens of lawmakers are taking sides, often making no secret of where they stand and what they support.

North Dakota’s Republican Rep. Rick Berg isn’t among them.

Throughout the heated negotiations this week, Berg has flown under the congressional radar, remaining silent about which of the new proposals he supports to draw down the national debt and avert a default next week.

For a story in Wednesday’s Forum, I reported that Berg still supports the “Cut, Cap and Balance” approach – but he was then-undecided on the plans unveiled earlier this week by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner.

Leading up to the expected-but-postponed vote yesterday on Boehner’s bill, Berg would not comment on what his vote would be.

His spokesman Alee Lockman told me then Berg would release a statement following the vote – but as partisan politics would have it, Boehner delayed the vote last night after realizing he didn’t have enough votes to ensure passage of his proposal.

In the latest draft of the plan, Boehner is attracting more support by including the requirement of a balanced budget amendment before raising the debt limit – a provision from the “Cut, Cap and Balance” plan.

I left messages with Lockman again at 10:15 this morning asking about Berg’s specific stance, but have not yet received a response from her.

Politico reported that Berg was likely among the handful of holdout Republicans who wouldn’t commit Thursday night to support Boehner’s bill.

Berg was seen with other holdout conservatives visiting with House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy late last night, according to Politico.

If Berg is indeed among the resistance, it likely places him in an awkward position with House GOP leadership.

In kicking off this session of Congress, the North Dakota freshman had the glowing and resounding support of such top Republicans as Boehner, McCarthy and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. McCarthy even called Berg a member of his “whip team.”

(The Washington Post reported yesterday members of that team were helping Boehner garner the support from the outlying GOP lawmakers – but it’s yet unknown whether Berg was a player in that.)

While Berg remains in the shadows, North Dakota Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad and Republican Sen. John Hoeven have been outspoken about where they stand in this debt battle.

Conrad, as Senate Budget Committee chairman and one of the loudest voices in the negotiations, stands by the “Gang of Six” proposal that he helped craft.

And, Hoeven came out yesterday and declared his support for Boehner’s debt plan – which, even if it passes the House, will likely fail in the Senate and, if necessary, see a veto by President Obama.

4 thoughts on “Berg “undecided” on Boehner plan as House resumes debate

  1. He should do what it takes to get this passed through both houses. Stop holding our country hostage and take the big offer. North Dakotans didn’t vote you in to blow up the economy.

  2. Mr. Berg is among the richest congress men in the congress. Who will he side with, tax cuts for the rich, of for the poor and middle class people of ND? He will be led by the nose to be on Boehner’s good side, and let the people of ND down once again. As long as he gets he tax breaks, he does not care in the country defaults and goes to hell in a handbag.

  3. Pingback: LATEST: Berg votes with GOP to pass Boehner’s debt bill | Flickertales from The Hill

  4. Pingback: N.D. delegation backs debt deal, averting default | Flickertales from The Hill

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