We found out earlier this morning that Paul Ryan has changed his mind and will reluctantly support the upcoming budget deal even though “the process stinks.” Rand Paul wants nothing to do with it and wants to filibuster it in the Senate. But will it even get that far? We found out from the House Freedom Caucus earlier today that they will be opposing the scheme for a variety of reasons.
Washington, DC – The House Freedom Caucus issued the following statement related to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, H.R. 1314:
“The latest budget deal continues the sad pattern of the past five years: a fiscal monstrosity gets negotiated in secret with Obama, Reid, and Pelosi; the American people and their representatives get shut out of the process; and the bill is rushed through the House on short notice and without proper scrutiny or the ability to offer amendments. This deal is an affront to open, accountable, and limited government. It plunges our nation into debt to the tune of nearly $20 trillion, busts the spending caps enacted by Congress just a few years ago, perpetuates our looming entitlement crisis by pilfering money from Social Security, and contains budget and accounting gimmicks that are manifestly fraudulent. The House Freedom Caucus strongly opposes this deal and will vote against it on the House floor.”
Having this happen at the same moment that Ryan is negotiating the final vote to make him Speaker certainly doesn’t set an auspicious tone for the coming months. This deal, assuming it goes through as billed, not only raises the spending limits and increases the debt, but locks the GOP majority out of any additional leverage in negotiating a more prudent fiscal approach until after the next elections. It’s not hard to understand why Justin Amash was clearly a bit peeved when he got the word. (CNN)
Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, strongly objected to the deal.
“We’re not just here to take commands,” Amash said. “People back home expect us to participate in the process. I hope that Paul Ryan will let us know how he feels about the process.”
Ryan, who is the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, deliberately took a low profile and refused to weigh in on the deal, declining to comment to reporters and not saying a word about it during a private meeting with fellow House Republicans.
At that meeting, however, the tension was rife.
It’s still more than a year until the elections so I don’t understand why we aren’t taking a harder line on this. I understand that John Boehner is on his way out the door and feels like he has nothing to lose by ticking off the grassroots at this point. I can also see how he might think that he can spare Paul Ryan a lot of headaches by ramming this through on his final couple of days and let Ryan mouth some negative comments about it, but I’m guessing most of the Freedom Caucus has already seen through that play. I don’t know that the incoming Speaker (assuming that still happens) can get away with just saying, yeah, this stinks, but that’s how those guys always operate. It will be different when I’m in charge.
Of course, if we’ve given away enough to the Democrats to draw a significant number of votes I suppose it won’t matter. Obama signed off on the deal personally (which should tell you enough about it right there) so I doubt that too many of them will buck. This thing may already be a done deal, leaving the House leadership at odds with the more conservative members pretty much the same as it’s been for a couple of years now.