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.”
A broad coalition of conservative and free market groups are urging members of the Senate to support a measure — the “Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act,” better known as the REINS Act — that would require congressional approval of executive-level agency rules that will have a costly economic impact.
“This bill restores legislative control and accountability to the federal regulatory process by providing for meaningful congressional oversight over new regulations agencies impose on the American people,” wrote the coalition of organizations to individual members of the Senate.
“It requires both houses of Congress to approve any proposed ‘major rule’ — that is, any rule likely to affect the economy by $100 million or more — before such a rule goes into effect,” the letter continues. “The REINS Act already passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a sizeable margin. It is now time for the Senate to follow suit.”
Policymakers and bureaucrats tend not to be concerned about the implications of rules created by executive-level agencies, like the EPA, for example. But these regulations create a costly compliance burden for consumers and business, which are already facing tremendous strains on their finances as the economy has limped along after the recession, with next to no accountability and only marginal oversight.
In March, the Competitive Enterprise Institute released its annual regulatory snapshot, Ten Thousand Commandments, which found that compliance cost with these rules and regulation cost $1.8 trillion in 2012, roughly $14,678 per American family. Those compliance costs, the coalition letter notes, “was more than half of all federal outlays ($3.4 trillion)” for that year.
UPDATE: A spokesperson for Sen. McConnell disputed the veracity of the Washington Times’ story in an email this afternoon and reiterated their dispute of the comments made by Glenn Beck, which was noted in the original story. We did call Sen. McConnell’s Washington office yesterday afternoon for comment, but we were unable to get past a voice recording. There was no prompt to leave a voicemail.
The fight to defund ObamaCare has really emphasized the disconnect between the conservative grassroots and the Republican establishment.
With the help of grassroots groups, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) were able to build momentum to pressure House and Senate Republicans to support a Continuing Resolution (CR) that would have defunded ObamaCare. Of course, Republican leaders were hesitant to embrace the idea, if not outright contemptuous.
In all of this, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) emerged as one of the most prominent Republicans to oppose the strategy. He didn’t take part in Cruz’s quasi-filibuster and was heavily criticized for it.
But McConnell has recently created controversy that could undermine his leadership role as well as his bid for re-election next year.
The Republican primary in California’s 7th Congressional District will be one of the races worth watching next year as a retread, big spending ex-Congressman and a fresh-faced fiscal conservative square off for the right to challenge Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA).
FreedomWorks, which bills itself as a grassroots service center with more than 6 million members, is the first conservative group to get involved in the race. The organization’s PAC endorsed Igor Birman last week, becoming the first candidate they’ve endorsed in the 2014 election cycle.
“The choice is clear, Igor Birman is the only conservative in the race, and he will be a clear voice for common sense fiscal policies and a return to limited government in Congress,” said FreedomWorks PAC in a release announcing the endorsement.
Birman is running for the Republican nomination in CA-07 against three other candidates, including former Rep. Doug Ose (R-CA), a big spending Republican retread.
“We have a long campaign ahead of us,” said Birman, who served as a senior staffer to Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), in the release. “But with the backing of voters who want to see a return to limited government here in California and groups like FreedomWorks PAC who are fighting for limited government in Washington, I am confident we will have the support and resources we need to win the 7th Congressional district next year.”
Opponents of the National Security Agency’s broad surveillance apparatus are organizing a rally to remind elected officials the violation of Americans’ civil liberties through the collection of their phone records and Internet metadata.
StopWatching.Us — a coalition of more 100 groups, including the ACLU, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Digital Fourth, Electronic Frontier Foundation, FreedomWorks, Mozilla, and reddit — plans to stage the rally on October 26th in Washington, DC, where organizers will present Congress with petitions containing the signatures of more than 569,000 people who are opposed to NSA spying.
“On Saturday, October 26 — the 12th anniversary of the signing of the USA PATRIOT Act — thousands of people from across the political spectrum will unite in Washington, D.C. to proclaim: Enough is enough. Stop watching us,” StopWatching.Us said in the announcement of the rally.
“We are demanding a full Congressional investigation of America’s surveillance programs, reform to federal surveillance law, and accountability from public officials responsible for hiding this surveillance from lawmakers and the public,” the organizers added. “And we will personally deliver the half million petition signatures to Congress.”
Editor’s note: Rep. Tom Graves has announced seven additional co-sponsors to his proposed spending measure, according to a post on his Facebook page. This brings the total to 66 co-sponsors.
Just days after introducing a measure to delay and defund ObamaCare for the upcoming fiscal year, Rep. Tom Graves’ office announced more support from House Republicans for his proposal.
Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) were forced to delay a vote last week on a Continuing Resolution that conservative members of the Republican conference said would fund ObamaCare. Congress must pass and President Obama must sign a stop-gap spending measure by the end of the month, when the current fiscal year ends, to avoid a government shutdown.
Graves, a Republican from Georgia, introduced the Stability, Security and Fairness Resolution on Thursday. This proposal, an alternative to the strategy pushed by House Republican leaders, would fund the federal government a post-sequester levels, with the exception of defense and national security. More importantly, this measure would directly take on ObamaCare, pushing back the law until 2015.
“[O]ur plan will achieve fairness for every American by fully delaying and defunding Obamacare until 2015,” said Graves in a press release last week. “This approach builds upon the Obama Administration’s policy of delaying portions of Obamacare and relieves taxpayers of the burden of funding a program that is not being implemented.”
It looks like Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) will have to go back to the drawing board if they hope to pass a measure that funds the federal government.
Facing backlash from conservative members of their conference, The Hill reports that GOP leaders have temporarily delayed a vote on a Continuing Resolution for the upcoming fiscal year that would fund ObamaCare:
House GOP leaders have delayed a vote on a bill to avert a government shutdown until next week.
An aide to Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) confirmed the decision, which is designed to give GOP leaders more time to round up votes.
Leaders have been scrambling to gain 217 votes for their plan to fund the government through Dec. 15 while forcing the Senate to vote up or down on a measure to defund ObamaCare.
The plan has faced opposition from dissatisfied conservatives who argue it won’t actually lead to the defunding of the healthcare law. They are pushing to include language defunding ObamaCare in the resolution funding the government.
House Republican leadership has tried to push a cheap legislative gimmick in which they would pass a Continuing Resolution and a separate non-binding measure to defund ObamaCare. The thinking is that they this path would allow a vote to defund ObamaCare and avoid a government shutdown.
But if the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats, didn’t first pass the measure defunding ObamaCare, they could still pass a clean Continuing Resolution that funds the unpopular law.
The libertarian philosophy is taking the Republican Party by storm, according to a poll conducted by FreedomWorks, a DC-based grassroots service center with over 6 million members.
With Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) and many other liberty-minded politicians gaining influence, libertarianism has generated new interest inside the Republican Party, much to the chagrin of the GOP’s political establishment.
Though still not a dominate view inside the party, there is no denying that the narrative inside the Republican Party has significantly changed. Moreover, libertarians have an opportunity upon which they can seize, if they’re willing to work within the system.
“FreedomWorks’ poll shows that 41 percent of Republican voters hold libertarian views. Conventional wisdom is that many voters who are libertarian don’t know the word. But this may well be changing,” noted David Kirby, Kellyanne Conway, and Stephen Spiker in the report on the data.
“FreedomWorks’ poll shows that 42 percent of Republicans have a favorable view of the word ‘libertarian,’ and only 10 percent don’t know the word, compared to 27 percent who don’t know nationally,” they added.
And the term “libertarian” may still turn off some Republican voters, the basic message of the philosophy earns significant favor. The poll found that 68% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents agree with the statement that “individuals should be free to do as they like as long as they don’t hurt others, and that the government should keep out of people’s day-to-day lives.”
The legislative trickery being employed by House Republicans to avoid a showdown on ObamaCare funding has pushed conservative organizations to ramp up efforts to urge members to vote against an upcoming stop-gap spending bill.
It was revealed on Monday that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) would push a stop-gap, known as a Continuing Resolution, later this week as well as a separate resolution that would defund ObamaCare.
The latter resolution would allow members to say that they voted to deny funding to the unpopular law while avoiding a feared government shutdown, even though it will almost certainly be shot down by the Senate, sending a clean bill to President Barack Obama for his signature.
But conservative groups are having none of this. The Club for Growth, which previously blasted the move, announced yesterday that they would key vote the rule under which the Continuing Resolution will be brought to the floor, urging members to vote “no.”
“For several weeks now, the Club has urged lawmakers to defund ObamaCare in the FY14 continuing resolution,” wrote Andrew Roth, vice president for Government Affairs at the Club for Growth, in an email to members of Congress. “Rather than fight to defund ObamaCare, or to even have an honest debate about it, House leaders have decided to go with a ‘smoke and mirrors’ strategy that avoids the issue. Therefore, we urge lawmakers to oppose the rule.”