WASHINGTON – Conservative House members pushed back on the budget proposal announced Tuesday, with many saying they could not support the proposed deal.
“I think it’s a terrible plan,” said Rep. Raul Labrador at a panel of conservatives lawmakers Wednesday.
“I think it undoes everything that we set out in the Williamsburg accord,” he said, citing a goal set out by Republicans at their conference retreat in Williamsburg, Virginia, last year to maintain sequester cuts until they saw savings from reform to entitlement programs. “I think it actually violates every principle in the Williamsurg accord, and it also makes promises to the American people that are false.”
“I’m really undecided,” he joked. “I haven’t decided whether I’m going to be a really strong no or just a no.”
Rep. Jim Jordan also cited the agreement at Williamsburg.
“I’m in the no category,” he said at the same panel.
“I would argue this agreement, while it has some positives…is a marked departure from what we all agreed and we set out to do,” he said.
Rep. Tom McClintock said he was “expressing a high degree of skepticism” at the idea that the proposal would allow for more spending in the short term in exchange for savings in the long term.
“We’re supposed to believe that although we can’t summon the political will to maintain the sequester over the next two years, we will be able to maintain it for the ten years to follow,” McClintock said. “And I found that a little hard to swallow.”
Rep. Andy Harris said, “I lean no against the plan,” saying that while he liked that it would ease the cuts to defense, “I just don’t think we should increase spending.”
Rep. Matt Salmon was critical of the deal, saying it did not go far enough.
“It is a first step, it’s a baby step, and it’s a little tiny baby step. I think that we could’ve made maybe a toddler step,” he told reporters.
“A lot of the things that we might want may not be a political reality, but it seems as though we had incredible leverage with the sequestration, and I’m not sure we used it to the full extent,” Salmon added, saying he did not feel the proposal did enough to reduce the deficit or reform social security and Medicare.
Rep. Louie Gohmert said he was concerned that the proposal blew the spending caps.
“Once the sequester caps are broken, then I’m sure the Democrats will be saying, ‘the great news is we’ve broken the caps,’ and they’ll never be able to go back to them. So that concerns me greatly that we’ve finally had a reduction in spending and now we’re gonna break that,” he told The Daily Caller.
“I’m a no,” said Rep. Thomas Massie, saying that it “increases spending.”
“We’ve all said spending is the problem, not revenue, and why would we increase it? By the way, the current law is the sequester level, so why can’t we just fund the government at the sequester level?” he told reporters.
Rep. Tim Huelskamp told The Daily Caller: “I am not planning on voting for it,” describing it as “a deal that raises spending, raises taxes, and eliminates part of the sequester.”
Other conservative members of the House were more cautious.
“I need to review it more…I don’t want to have to pass it to see what’s in it,” said Rep. Ted Yoho.
Rep. Mark Meadows said he was still “reviewing the details, but there’s not a strong pushback.”
“I expect it to pass, and I’m looking forward to getting back to regular order,” Meadows said.
“I’m leaning yes,” said Rep. Vicky Hartzler, though she acknowledged: “I’m still looking at all the details.” Hartzler said that it was not the perfect deal, but added that since Republicans did not control both houses of congress, it was a “good step forward and it achieves the possibility to have a good budget.”
Rep. Cynthia Lummis said she was still “undecided.”