budget

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.

Senate likely to push through Ryan-Murray budget deal

There were some news reports over the weekend featuring which suggested that there were not the votes in the Senate to pass the budget deal reached between Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). But The New York Times reported yesterday that enough Republicans will vote to advance deal past a procedural hurdle, setting the stage for final passage (emphasis added):

Support for a compromise two-year budget deal grew on Monday ahead of a Tuesday vote in the Senate as Republicans concluded that a measure that achieved overwhelming bipartisan support in the House could not die in Congress’s upper chamber.

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.”

Conservative group: Budget deal a “lose-lose compromise” for taxpayers

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), chairs of budget committees in both chambers of Congress, reached an agreement last night that will partially roll back the bipartisan spending cuts mandated by the bipartisan Budget Control Act of 2011.

Jonathan Bydlak, president of the Coalition to Reduce Spending, warns that the looming budget promise is “disastrous” for fiscal conservatives because reversal of some of these reasonable spending cuts and does nothing to address entitlement programs — the real drivers of federal budget deficits.

“This deal would be a disastrous lose-lose compromise that kicks the can down the road while refusing to address the core of our national fiscal crisis,” wrote Bydlak in an email blast before the agreement was formally announced.

RELATED: United Liberty chats with Jonathan Bydlak

“At this point, sources have reported that the deal will likely replace less than half of the sequester cuts for 2014 and 2015, and not touch major entitlements and the tax code,” he continued. “[W]e’re hearing rumors that the disastrous deal could…include spending around $980 billion to $1 trillion, along with raising revenues through increased federal employee benefits contributions and air ticket taxes, among other things.”

Budget agreement reached, sequester cuts partially rolled back

Paul Ryan and Patty Murray

After months of working through differences, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), chairs of the respective chamber’s budget committees, announced this evening that they’ve struck a two-year discretionary spending agreement that would avoid the prospect of another government shutdown.

The agreement, dubbed the “Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013,” would spend $1.012 trillion in the current fiscal year and $1.013 trillion in FY 2015, according to a summary of the agreement. It will rollback $63 billion of planned spending cuts between this and next year. The funding measure will not tackle mandatory spending (ie. entitlements), nor does it raise the debt ceiling.

“I’m proud of this agreement,” Ryan said in a joint statement. “It reduces the deficit—without raising taxes. And it cuts spending in a smarter way. It’s a firm step in the right direction, and I ask all my colleagues in the House to support it.”

“This agreement breaks through the recent dysfunction to prevent another government shutdown and roll back sequestration’s cuts to defense and domestic investments in a balanced way,” Murray said. “It’s a good step in the right direction that can hopefully rebuild some trust and serve as a foundation for continued bipartisan work.”

Budget deadline approaches, some sequester cuts could be nixed

There is a lot going on surrounding the budget as Congress approaches the December 13 deadline for lead negotiators — Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), chairs of their respective budget committees — to reach an agreement, per the October deal that ended the government shutdown.

Republicans in Congress are, generally, ready to deal on the budget, one way or another, after the hit in the polls they took in October. But discussions current taking place between Ryan and Murray would undo tens of billions in sequester cuts, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal:

Lawmakers must still overcome significant obstacles, including last-minute pressure from Democrats seeking a renewal of expanded federal unemployment benefits and labor unions opposed to proposed cuts in federal employees’ pensions.

Still, officials close to the talks say that Sen. Patty Murray (D., Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), chief negotiators for their parties, are closing in on a deal that, while smaller in scope than past budget deals, would mark a rare moment of bipartisanship in a Congress that has been lurching from one fiscal crisis to the next.

Obama, House Republicans discussing debt ceiling deal

There has been considerable movement in talks between House Republicans and the White House on the debt ceiling over the last 24 hours. There is no definite deal yet, but the wheels are moving.

House Republicans, led by Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), have floated the idea of a six-week debt ceiling increase, which conservative groups have indicated they will not oppose and which the White House has said that President Barack Obama would “likely” sign.

Senate, however, is still pushing forward on a long-term debt ceiling increase. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will hold a vote tomorrow on one-year, $1 trillion dollar increase. Senate Republicans, led by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and other moderate Republicans, are working with some Democrats to repeal ObamaCare’s medical device tax and subsidy verification requirements as part of the debt ceiling deal. This potential deal would also give the Obama Administration flexibility on sequester cuts.

John McCain dismisses Ted Cruz, praises Senate Democrats

John McCain

Shortly after Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) ended his 21 hour speech against ObamaCare, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) turned to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to criticize conservatives, as he has so often done in the past.

McCain, who has hinted at retirement, has gone to bat for Reid as he tried to push for onerous gun control measure and push their big spending budget into a conference with the House without a guarantee against a stealth debt limit increase. He defended President Barack Obama’s drones policy, calling opponents “wacko birds.”

This time around, however, McCain gave what was essentially the “Democratic response” to Cruz’s speech, as Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) put it yesterday on Twitter.

“I would like to make sure that my colleagues, especially those who were not here in 2009, understand that there are many of us who are oppose to ‘ObamaCare,’ as its called — the Affordable Care Act,” said McCain, who gestured quotes with his hands, “and the opposition we mounted.”

 


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