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.
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.”
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.”
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.
“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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
The general consensus from conservatives is that Republicans lost their way during the Bush years as spending and the size of government grew larger and larger. “We deserved to lose” was a frequently heard refrain from fiscally conservative Republicans who hope some time in the political wilderness would bring them back to their limited government roots.
It’s unsurprising that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) reflects upon those years in much the same way, but he takes these comments a step further in a profile in GQ, where the freshman Texas senator explains that conservatives felt “embarrassed” to vote in 2006 and 2008, when Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was the Republican Party’s nominee:
For a party in the midst of some serious soul-searching, Cruz offers a simple, reassuring solution: Forget the blather about demographic tidal waves and pleas for modernization; all Republicans need to do is return to their small-government, anti-tax fundamentals. “I don’t know a conservative who didn’t feel embarrassed voting in 2006 or 2008,” Cruz told me—a remark that’s sure to endear him even more to McCain. “I think the Republican Party lost its way. We didn’t stand for the principles we’re supposed to believe in.”
Cruz and McCain haven’t seen eye to eye since the former joined the Senate at the beginning of the year. McCain called the trio of senators — Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Cruz — who protested via filibuster the Obama Administration’s drones policy “wacko birds.”
After 27 long years on Capitol Hill and two failed presidential bids, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) may finally be ready to retire. The Hill picked up on comments that the Arizona senator made during a recent interview:
The 77-year-old’s current term is up in 2016. When asked if this would really be his last term, McCain backtracked a bit.
“Nah, I don’t know,” McCain said. “I was trying to make a point. I have to decide in about two years so I don’t have to make a decision. I don’t want to be one of these old guys that should’ve shoved off.”
McCain made the initial remark about retirement off-the-cuff to a group of Obama supporters who interrupted the interview as he was arguing that television providers should unbundle their channels.
McCain has long been a thorn in the side of conservatives and libertarians, voting for bloated budgets and pushing unpopular positions on a number of policies. Just this year alone, he opposed Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on drones, backed more onerous gun control measures, and tried to help Senate Democrats push their big spending budget into a conference with the House without a guarantee against a stealth debt limit increase.