John Boehner says conservative groups criticizing the latest budget deal have “lost all credibility.”
Has the speaker of the House lost his mind?
Republicans have certainly cut worse deals with the Democrats than the controversial pact between Paul Ryan and Patty Murray. This one doesn’t increase marginal income tax rates, like the 1990 “read my lips” budget agreement between the Democrats and President George Bush. It doesn’t create the biggest new entitlement since Lyndon Johnson ushered in the Great Society, like Medicare Part D under Bush the Younger.
But sequestration marks the only time congressional Republicans have won a major spending battle against President Barack Obama. The Ryan-Murray deal essentially trades away the next two years of cuts.
Ryan insists that the deal “will provide $63 billion in sequester relief — split evenly between defense programs and other domestic priorities — in exchange for $85 billion in savings elsewhere in the budget.” That’s an extra $23 billion in deficit reduction.
But the savings come in the future. The voided spending cuts occur over the next two years. If Congress can vacate these previously enacted spending cuts, why can’t they roll back the future savings when the time comes?
It’s almost like passing amnesty for illegal immigrants now and waiting for border security later.
Maybe the Ryan-Murray deal will turn out as promised. But that would be much easier to believe if Beltway Republicans didn’t have a bigger credibility problem that outside conservative groups.
It wasn’t the Club for Growth that got elected in 2010 promising $100 billion in spending cuts, only to immediately shrink that figure to $58 billion upon taking office.
It wasn’t Heritage Action that had to be dragged kicking and screaming into upping the spending cuts slightly to $61 billion — and then shrinking it again, all the way back down to $38 billion.
Then it turned out that the actual deficit reduction for fiscal year 2011, the beginning of the tea party Republican House majority, was just $352 million. But that can’t be pinned on FreedomWorks.