budget deal

Conservatives to Congress: “Spend one dollar less”

A new strategy has emerged from conservative groups over the debt ceiling as they emerge from a fractured fight over the government shutdown. The message to Congress: spend one dollar less than last year.

The coalition of 20 groups, first reported by National Review, has written a letter to lawmakers urging them to take caution in their approach on the debt ceiling and government funding as House and Senate tackling the budget.

“The undersigned public policy organizations are writing to you today about the upcoming debt ceiling debate and our belief that Congress has a moral obligation to pursue additional spending reductions before taking on additional debt,” wrote the organizations in the letter to members of Congress.

“Specifically, we propose the following: If Washington wants to take on more debt, isn’t it fair that they at least be forced to spend One Dollar Less next year than they’re spending this year?” the letter continued. “Most families are reducing their budgets by far more than one dollar, shouldn’t Washington at least do this much? The American people certainly think so.”

Signers to the letter include Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, Andrew Moylan of the R Street Institute, Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and Phil Kerpen of American Commitment.

Club for Growth releases 2013 congressional scorecards

Club for Growth

The Club for Growth released its annual congressional scorecards yesterday, offering concerned constituents a snapshot of how their representatives in Washington voted on issues related to limited government and economic growth legislation during the first session of the 113th Congress.

“2013 saw the emergence of several new defenders of economic freedom as well as continued excellence among old allies,” said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola, himself a former member of Congress. “Some members have seen their voting records improve and will be honored this year with recognition of their efforts for the first time.”

“While there are more champions of pro-economic growth policy serving in Congress than at any time before, it’s clear that our fight against the big spenders in both parties has a long way to go,” he added.

Like many organizations, the Club for Growth states positions on legislation or other matters as a way to encourage House and Senate members to encourage them to vote in a manner consistent with limited government, pro-growth views. The votes scored in the 2013 include the efforts to repeal or defund Obamacare, the Ryan-Murray budget deal, the farm bill, and the Full Faith and Credit Act.

The scorecards offer a look at who is living up to the limited government rhetoric on which they run each year as well as those are voting to put more debt on the back of the taxpayer as well as future taxpayers.

No, Congress isn’t cutting military benefits

Given all the insane things that our government has done over the past few years, it’s easy to fall into the habit of believing everything you read. DEA working with drug cartels? Check. Federally funded penis pumps? But of course. Congress cuts military benefits to reach a budget deal? You be…wait. Not so fast.

At the end of December, Paul Ryan and Patty Murray reached a rare bipartisan compromise on a budget agreement to end the short and contentious series of continuing resolutions that have funded the government since 2010. Once the details of the plan were revealed, it was immediately denounced, explicitly in conservative publications, and implicitly in mainstream ones, for draconian “cuts” to military benefits:

Biggest Stories of 2013: The Republican Surrender Act of 2013

Throughout New Year’s Eve, we’ll be going through the 10 biggest political stories of 2013 as selected by United Liberty’s contributors. Don’t forget to chime in on the biggest stories of the year on our Facebook page.

Republicans won a hard fought debt ceiling battle in 2011, getting $1.2 trillion in reductions in spending over the course of 10 years. The spending cuts were hailed by supporters as one of the biggest achievements for fiscal conservatives in several years.

The Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA) passed both the House of Representatives and Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support, including votes from Pelosi and Reid, and was signed into law by President Barack Obama.

But before those bipartisan cuts even kicked in, Republicans began retreating from them, and, in the process, blew their messaging on the need for lower spending and deficit reduction. Why? They wanted to restore some of the defense spending cuts mandated by the BCA, because they wanted to protect crony contractors from cutbacks.

Republicans talking tough about debt ceiling

In the midst of a complete surrender over the hard-fought spending cuts in the bipartisan Budget Control Act of 2011, congressional Republicans are talking out loud about making demands to raise the debt ceiling in the spring.

For example, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), who brokered the budget deal with Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), noted over the weekend that House Republicans “don’t want ‘nothing’ out of the debt limit” and would “decide what it is we can accomplish out of this debt limit fight.” He later indicated that one potential trade off could be approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) doubted that Congress would approve a clean debt ceiling hike. “I think the debt ceiling legislation is a time that brings us all together and gets the president’s attention, which with this president, particularly when it comes to reducing spending, has been a bit of a challenge,” said McConnell this week, according to Politico.

The deal reached during the government shutdown funded the government until January 15 and raised the debt ceiling to February 7. With the budget issue almost certainly out of the way, assuming the Senate passes it, the focus in Congress will be on the debt ceiling.

John Boehner gives Chris Matthews a thrill up his leg

Chris Matthews

Chris Matthews has found a new politician to adore, at least for now. The MSNBC Hardball host opened his show on Monday evening with a rant about the Tea Party and heaped praise on Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) for pushing the budget deal through the House, despite vocal opposition from conservatives in and outside of Congress.

Matthews host compared conservatives to whining kids riding and complaining the back seat of a car on a long trip. “That’s the kid’s job, just sit back there blaming and complaining,” he said in his usual angry disposition.

“Well, the speaker of the House, who spent the last months and years speaking for the kids in the back of the car, spoke like a grownup and said, I’ll drive the car, but I’m not going to drive a crazy car, damn it. I’m the speaker of the House. I’m second in line to the American presidency, not the Mad Hatter of the Tea Party. That’s what he said,” Matthews added.

Senate Conservatives Fund slams GOP leaders for “war on conservatives”

John Boehner and Mitch McConnell

Conservative groups criticized by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) last week aren’t backing down from their opposition to the budget deal. One of the groups has fired back at Republican congressional leaders for what it calls a “war on conservatives.”

The Senate Conservatives Fund sent out a fundraising email blast to supporters on Monday blasting Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for comments the two have made that are hostile to conservative activists.

“House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) joined Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) last week in declaring war on conservatives,” said Matt Hoskins, executive director of the Senate Conservatives Fund, a PAC founded in 2008 by then-Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC).

“John Boehner called conservatives ‘ridiculous’ for opposing the budget agreement that increases spending, raises taxes, and funds Obamacare while Mitch McConnell previously called us stupid ‘traitors’ who should be locked in a bar and ‘punched in the nose,’” he said, adding that Republican leaders don’t want to be held accountable for their actions.

Boehner doubles down: Conservative groups have “lost all credibility”

John Boehner

Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) got a budget deal passed through the House of Representatives on Thursday, but he continued to alienate some of the Republican base in the process by doubling down on criticism of conservative groups.

During a press conference on Wednesday, Boehner, who is in his term as Speaker of the House, said that conservative groups opposing the budget deal are “using our members” and “using the American people.”

Those comments have been called a “line in the sand” against conservative groups and have drawn praise from moderate Republicans, including former Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-LA), who referred to the groups as the “Flat Earth Society.”

Conservative groups quickly fired back at Boehner, saying that the deal is a surrender by Republicans on spending and the promise of spending cuts in the future is dubious, at best.

But Boehner doubled down on the criticism on Thursday, shortly before the vote on the budget deal, after a question from a reporter about his comments from the previous day.

“Well, frankly, I think they’re misleading their followers, pushing members into places they don’t want to be,” Boehner told the reporter. “And, frankly, I think that they’ve lost all credibility.”

Boehner defends the Republican Surrender Act, slams conservative groups

John Boehner

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) responded angrily when asked about the strong opposition from conservative groups over the budget deal announced on Tuesday by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA).

An unidentified reporter asked about the groups which had blasted the deal — more aptly called the Republican Surrender Act of 2013 — and warned members of Congress that they would key vote against it on their respective scorecards. Before the reporter could finish her question, Boehner cut her off, clearly agitated, and shot back, “You mean the groups that came out and opposed it before they ever saw it?”

“They’re using our members, and they’re using the American people, for their own goals. This is ridiculous,” he said. “Listen, if you’re for more deficit reduction, you’re for this agreement.”

Press Release: Ron Paul Issues Statement on Rumored Debt-Ceiling Scheme

This was sent out on late in the evening on Friday (July 8). While Speaker John Boehner has backed away from a deal that involves tax hikes, it’s still worth posting.

Today, 2012 Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul issued a statement strongly opposing a proposed deal on the debt-ceiling that is rumored to be in the works between the Obama administration and Republican House leaders. See statement below.

“Sources in Washington tell me that House Republican Speaker John Boehner is considering a deal to raise taxes as part of a debt limit ‘deal.’

“In fact, reports are they may be ready to cave in to Barack Obama’s demands for a trillion dollars in tax increases in exchange for mostly phony spending and tax cuts in order to raise the debt ceiling.

“House Republicans would be foolish to go for this ploy and be taken in by the Obama administration, only to leave American taxpayers on the hook again for more out-of-control government spending.

“The Democrats pulled a similar maneuver during Ronald Reagan’s presidency, a deal that promised 2 to 1 spending cuts in exchange for tax increases. Taxes went up, but the cuts never came. They did it again in 1990, promising much the same deal, and delivering only on their tax increases.

“In Washington, if you hear about a so-called deal, you can be sure the taxes will come, but the cuts never will.

“Republicans cannot take the bait and get fooled again.

“This is exactly why I was the first Presidential candidate to sign on to the Cut, Cap, and Balance Pledge — because we cannot continue to steer our country down this road to ruin with a massive federal budget and unchecked spending. We need to change course right now.

“Agreeing to this scheme by the White House would be a betrayal of the voters who put Republicans back in charge of the House in 2010.


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