The pending budget deal brokered by Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray has upset many conservatives. While Bill Kristol argues it’s “a good deal for conservatives and Republicans” and the Wall Street Journal says it’s “the least bad budget deal,” many others are voicing concern.
It is viewed by many as not only a betrayal, but as almost a non sequitur — yet another example of the GOP voluntarily grasping defeat from the jaws of victory.
Not perfect by any means, the sequester has done what nothing else could: it actually cut spending. And that’s an almost impossible task. “I am old enough to remember when the GOP said not to worry about it caving on Obamacare funding because, by God, it would hold the line on sequestration,” writes Erick Erickson over at RedState.
Erickson’s not alone. FreedomWorks and AFP also oppose it. Last night, Sen. Marco Rubio came out against the deal. And Heritage Action’s Michael Needham argued it was “a step backward,” noting that “it represents an immediate increase in federal spending” and “relies upon promises of future cuts that the demise of the sequester vividly illustrates cannot be counted on.”
So far, this sounds like we are reverting to the lines that were drawn during the “defund ObamaCare” debacle, when conservatives feuded over different strategic visions.
But, in this battle, the grassroots conservative coalition is growing. This morning on Morning Joe, Sen. Tom Coburn said he was “real disappointed in the deal.” (Scarborough and Coburn were both opposed to the defund strategy, but both are now voicing concern about this budget deal.)
This isn’t terribly surprising. It’s one thing to push for an audacious and unachievable defund strategy; it’s quite another thing to simply want to maintain status quo sequester spending levels.
This is not to say that conservatives should be reflexively opposed to cutting a deal. Conservatives might be willing to give in on the sequester in favor of real entitlement reform. But the notion of abandoning discretionary spending cuts based on the promise of future cuts is a bridge too far.
Regardless, the danger is that Republicans will now change the subject from Obama’s failures (see his recent poll numbers). Ironically, Republican supporters of the deal believe this is the best way to avoid that fate. We shall see.
You can watch Sen. Coburn on Morning Joe below.