The Conservative Budget Backlash
The ink wasn’t dry on the on the bipartisan budget deal reached Tuesday between Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) before the conservative backlash began.
The two-year deal would eliminate $65 billion in cuts from sequestration while saving $25 billion by cutting Medicare spending in 2022 and 2023. The deal would raise revenue by instituting additional fees on airline tickets and slowing the rate of growth via cost-of-living increases for military pensions. However, many conservatives were outraged that the deal would increase the federal budget to more than $1 trillion, well above $967 billion at which the budget is currently capped under sequestration.
Conservative darling Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was quick to announce his opposition to the deal, saying, “This budget continues Washington’s irresponsible budgeting decisions by spending more money than the government takes in and placing additional financial burdens on everyday Americans.” Rubio was echoed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who tweeted: “There is a recurring theme in Washington budget negotiations. It’s I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”
The two senators, often mentioned as potential 2016 presidential hopefuls, were joined in their early opposition to the deal by a number of Tea Party conservatives in the House, including Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS). A number of conservative activist groups also have voiced skepticism about the deal. On Monday, Freedom Works, Heritage Action, and Americans for Prosperity preemptively criticized any Ryan-Murray bipartisan deal.
By contrast, President Obama said he supported the agreement, as did members of the House GOP leadership. Speaker John Boehner and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy have already come out in support of the deal.
If passed, the final deal would set budgets for 2014 and 2015, avoiding the fiscal brinkmanship that led to the past year’s government shutdown and fiscal cliff. But some drama in the House, particularly if Boehner decides to invoke the informal “Hastert rule,” which prevents a bill from coming to the floor unless a majority of Republicans support it.