Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) sought to smooth things over with conservative groups on the budget deal he struck with Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) in a pre-recorded appearance with on NBC’s Meet the Press, saying that the groups are “very important elements of our conservative family.”
Ryan’s comments came after House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) blasted conservative groups on Wednesday and Thursday for opposing the budget agreement before it was formally released, telling reporters that they’ve “lost all credibility.”
“I think John just kind of got his Irish up. He was frustrated that these groups came out in opposition to our budget agreement before we reached a budget agreement,” Ryan told host David Gregory. “I was frustrated, too.”
“But I think these are very important elements of our conservative family. I would prefer to keep those conversations within the family,” the House Budget Committee chairman said. “And I think he was just basically voicing his frustration with their opposition before we had reached our agreement.”
In response to Boehner’s criticism of conservative groups opposing the deal before it was announced, Dean Clancy, Vice President for Public Policy at FreedomWorks, tweeted on Friday that his group “was briefed on budget deal by @PRyan before its unveiling [and] issued key-vote letter *after* reading it.”
What’s more, the targeting of these groups does run the risk of back firing. Tim Carney, a columnist at the Washington Examiner, recently explained that the criticism of conservative groups from Boehner and other establishment Republicans “only makes them stronger.”
Conservative groups opposed the budget deal rolls back much-needed, very modest spending cuts mandated through the bipartisan Budget Control Act of 2011. There is also doubt that the $23 billion in purported deficit reduction will ever come to fruition because it backloads spending cuts, including the “doc fix,” payment cuts to Medicare providers that are ignored by Congress.
The news coverage of negotiations between Ryan and Murray, the latter of whom chairs the Senate Budget Committee, also turned out to be remarkably accurate in terms of the details of the agreement.
Ryan also told Gregory that the “groups are indispensable to keeping taxpayer interest accounted for, keeping people accountable,” adding that there is “sometimes [a] difference of opinions on tactics.”
“We all believe the same thing with respect to our ultimate goal. With the budget I passed in March, that’s what I really want. Balance the budget, pay off the debt, don’t raise taxes,” said Ryan. “But I know that in this divided government, I can’t get the budget and [Murray] can’t get her budget that she passed.”
“So, we could either just keep doing this and have shutdowns, or we could look for common ground and get something down and keep things moving,” he added.
The budget agreement overwhelmingly passed the House on Thursday, by a vote of 332 to 94. Reuters reported yesterday that the deal could be on the ropes in the Senate as there aren’t enough votes to pass it.