As Senate leadership celebrated their agreement on a massive two-year budget deal, Speaker Paul Ryan struggled to convince his conference’s right flank that the legislation was worth supporting.
The Senate hasn’t even yet passed its funding package—which includes a stopgap bill to keep the government open until March 23, along with a two-year, $300 billion increase in defense in domestic spending, a one-year suspension of the debt limit, and $81 billion in disaster relief—but House leaders are already trying to contain opposition among their members.
Negotiations have sparked a resurgence of the internecine strife that has wracked the conference in recent years: Spending hawks in the Freedom Caucus, for instance, are decrying the deal. If Republicans support this package, they argue, they’ve signaled to voters that the party’s message of fiscal prudence—the message that sealed their majority in 2010—is a sham. Moderate Republicans, meanwhile, counter that the bill’s long-term Pentagon funding, not to mention its cessation of the pattern of month-to-month government funding, makes the deficit a necessary pill to swallow.