Boehner Hits Outside Groups' Budget Opposition

Boehner Hits Outside Groups' Budget Opposition

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - December 11, 2013

House Speaker John Boehner lashed out Wednesday at conservative groups that have opposed the budget deal forged by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray.

“You mean the groups that came out and opposed it before they ever saw it?” Boehner said when asked about outside opposition during a press conference that followed Ryan’s briefing of the Republican conference on the deal.

Then the speaker, who is typically even-toned when talking to the press, raised his voice. “They're using our members and they're using the American people for their own goals,” Boehner said. “This is ridiculous.”

He added: “If you're for more deficit reduction, you're for this agreement,”

The deal, which Ryan and Murray announced Tuesday night, sets spending levels for the current and following fiscal years at just over $1 trillion, and restores $63 billion in sequester cuts over those two years. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that, under the plan, the U.S. budget deficit would be reduced by $85 billion over the next decade.

But before the two budget chairs released the details of the agreement, groups such as Heritage Action and Americans for Prosperity, along with some congressional candidates, announced their opposition and urged lawmakers to vote against it.

The Club for Growth came out against the deal on Wednesday, citing opposition from other members of Congress (and noting, in response to Boehner, that it withheld comment until the details were released).

“We stand with Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Tom Coburn, Rand Paul, members of the Republican Study Committee and every other fiscal conservative who opposes the Ryan-Murray deal,” Club for Growth President Chris Chocola said. “After carefully reviewing the budget deal, on which we never commented until it was complete, we determined that it would increase the size of government.”

Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor both backed the deal as a step in the right direction, despite the outside opposition that has complicated the speaker’s efforts to cajole his conference in fiscal negotiations.

Some members opposed to the deal rejected the notion that ratings from the groups, and their scores on lawmakers’ votes, influenced their stance. Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador said anyone who thinks his vote “is for sale” to groups like Heritage “is sadly mistaken.” But he also asked whether there was anything “these outside groups said yesterday about this deal that is false today?" 

Caitlin Huey-Burns is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @CHueyBurnsRCP.

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