Boehner says conservative groups ‘misleading their followers,’ have ‘lost all credibility’

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
Font Size:

WASHINGTON — Speaker of the House John Boehner said outside conservative groups have “lost all credibility” with the stances they have taken on issues recently.

“Frankly, I think they’re misleading their followers, I think they’re pushing our members in places where they don’t want to be, and frankly i just think that they’ve lost all credibility,” Boehner said at a press conference on Thursday about outside groups.

Boehner has been on the war path in the past two days against outside groups like Heritage Action, FreedomWorks, and the Club for Growth who have come out against the budget plan negotiated by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray. Some of those groups attacked the plan before it was officially announced, and Boehner, who supports the budget agreement, blasted them on Wednesday for doing so, and continued that attack on Thursday.

“This budget agreement takes giant steps in the right direction. It’s not everything I want, but when groups come out and criticize an agreement that they’ve never seen, you begin to wonder just how credible those actions are,” he said. “And so yesterday, when the criticism was coming, frankly I thought it was my job and my obligation to stand up for conservatives here in the congress who want more deficit reduction, stand up for the work that Chairman Ryan did. He did good work on behalf of the American people.”

“Why conservatives wouldn’t vote for this, or criticize the bill is beyond any recognition,” Boehner said, saying the budget accomplished deficit reduction.

Boehner accused conservative groups of pushing members to back the plan to defund Obamacare that resulted in a government shutdown that did more harm to Republicans than it did to the health-care law.

“They pushed us into this fight to defund Obamacare and shut down the government, now most of you know …that wasn’t exactly the strategy that I had in mind,” he said.

“The day before the government reopened, one of these groups stood up and said, ‘well we never really thought this would work.’ Are you kidding me?” Boehner shouted.

Boehner defended his conservative credentials and said that the outside groups had simply gone too far.

“I’m as conservative as anybody around here,” Boehner said. “All the things that we’ve done over the three years that I’ve been speaker have not violated any conservative principles. Not one.”

“It just comes to a point where some people step over the line,” he said. “When you criticize something and you have no idea what your criticizing, it undermines your credibility.”

Follow Alexis on Twitter