Oh my: Mitch McConnell reportedly voting against Boehner/Ryan budget deal

You know how it is with these budget deals. The tea-party guys in Congress always line up to express their outrage: Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell. Wait, what?

Signs of a Republican revolt brewing?

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will vote against the deal brokered by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, a knowledgeable source close to the Kentucky Republican told The Daily Caller on Wednesday.

While the budget proposal is expected to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate, McConnell joins a growing list of Republican senators — including Marco Rubio of Florida, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Rand Paul of Kentucky — who oppose the deal…

McConnell’s opposition to a deal that the House GOP leadership — including Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor — have fully embraced isn’t much of a surprise. He has long spoken in support of keeping what’s known as the sequester cuts intact…

The Wall Street Journal reported last month that McConnell met with House Republicans last month, urging them not to get rid of the automatic budget cuts.

And so it came to be that Mitch the Knife and Jim DeMint ended up on the same side of a dubious bargain struck by Republican leaders. I wonder if that’s because, as the Daily Caller notes, McConnell really does oppose sequester rollbacks strongly enough to cross Boehner and Ryan or just because he’s worried about the tea-party primary challenge he’s getting from Matt Bevin in Kentucky. Hard for me to believe, given the conservative indictment against him, that one more vote for compromise would be the tipping point for voters who are otherwise inclined to stick with him. Maybe he sees some potential for righty disgruntlement over this deal to erupt into a rebellion in the House and litmus-test problems for any incumbent who votes the wrong way. In that case, though, how come so many House Republicans sounded like they were willing to follow Ryan and Boehner after this morning’s caucus meeting?

“This bill was designed to pass with bipartisan support in the House,” said Representative Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina. “It was not designed to get most of the people on this dais.” The far right and far left could cast their protest votes against it, but with the bulk of both parties supporting it, it would easily pass. The agreement is expected to come to the floor of the House on Thursday…

“[Ryan] got the best deal he could, but he was up against a liberal-controlled Senate that completely disregarded the law of the land,” said Representative Andy Harris. “This will not diminish his standing in any way,” added Representative Vicky Hartzler, who said it was only out of respect for Ryan that she hadn’t ruled out voting for the deal. “He has been a marvelous soldier in coming to this agreement.”

The mystery of whether the bill will pass will be over soon — it will, with bipartisan support in the House and the usual Collins/Kirk/Murkowski RINO crossovers in the Senate — but a lesser mystery will replace it. Namely, how long will Paul Ryan’s influence over the caucus last? To an outside observer, his endorsement of unpalatable budget deals in the past seems to have had an almost talismanic quality in getting GOP fencesitters to support them. Even now, per Robert Costa, it seems unlikely that conservative talk radio will excommunicate him as a RINO. But they’re killing him at Red State today and Mark Levin told him directly last night that the deal he struck with Murray was “Mickey Mouse.” I wonder if Ryan, who’s been championed by righties in the past, will eventually end up being championed by centrists eager to trade on his (waning?) conservative credibility as proof that the centrist compromises he agrees to should be good enough to meet any right-wing litmus test. Case in point: Via Mediaite, watch below as Nicolle Wallace challenges Tom Coburn’s criticisms of the deal on grounds that Paul Ryan helped negotiate it. Paul Ryan!

Exit quotation from the man himself, now finding himself in the crosshairs among grassroots righties who backed him before: “It’s a strange new normal, isn’t it.”

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David Strom 5:21 PM on June 02, 2023