A stunning Congressional Budget Office report revealing that the so-called $38 billion in budget cuts made last week will only result in $352 million in savings this year has touched off a backlash from the conservative grass-roots base of the GOP that could make future bargains that much more difficult.
Several top tea party leaders are trying to ease the frustration, reminding the tea party faithful that Republicans only control the House of Representatives. But the antipathy on the right with how Washington does business is now palpable.
Even if congressional leaders are able to squeeze the continuing
resolution through Congress on Thursday, the questionable insider dealing, combined with President Barack Obama’s partisan speech on entitlement reform on Wednesday, could make future compromises on the debt ceiling and the 2012 budget much harder to achieve, sources say.
Obama intimated the reforms proposed by Wisconsin GOP Rep. Paul Ryan were un-American. Ryan replied that Obama has become a “campaigner in chief.”
“I’m hearing a lot of anger and frustration frankly,” Memphis Tea Party founder and chairman Mark Skoda, who is also a conservative talk-radio host, tells Newsmax. “Yesterday on the radio I had a number of folks call in, primarily [saying] that [House Speaker John] Boehner needs to fire his staff, that the deal that was cut is a terrible deal. I don’t think people are throwing in the towel for Republicans … but they got rolled.”
Sal Russo, the founder of Tea Party Express, says movement conservatives are “profoundly disappointed” by the 2011 budget deal. He tells Newsmax the arrangement marks “another failure to address excessive federal government spending and our skyrocketing national debt.”
Tea Party Express Chairman Amy Kremer, similarly, tells Newsmax that the deal struck by House Republicans was an “embarrassment.”
“I am very disappointed and fed up with Washington's politics as usual,” she adds, “The American people are smarter than Washington thinks, and we have lost patience with their shenanigans.
But Russo adds that it is time for the grass-roots to move past the 2011 budget that Democrats failed to pass, and to begin to focus on the much larger battles that lie ahead.
“The 2011 budget deal has become meaningless in the fight to curtail the increasing intrusiveness and cost of the federal government,” says Russo. “We hope this is a lesson to the Republican leaders to stand fast in opposing raising the debt ceiling, if the only plan from Democrats is to raise taxes and keep us on the spending merry-go-round.”
Skoda says most grass-roots conservatives that he’s spoken with would favor shutting down the government rather than approving the current resolution for federal funding expected to be voted on by both the House and the Senate Thursday.
But although Skoda says he would like to see the measure defeated, he doesn’t want to see recriminations and attacks against GOP members who vote in favor of it.
“I’m really antagonistic against anyone saying let’s primary these guys. Look, focus on winning the Senate and focus on winning the presidency. You’ve got the House, keep the House. Don’t eat your own! That’s the problem with the Republican Party, we keep eating our own. Stop the nonsense. This is pragmatic politics to some degree.
According to a whip-count analysis by TheHill.com, the continuing resolution is likely to pass. But the agreement will get plenty of “no” votes from both the left and the right, and could face trouble in the Senate.
The House Republicans who plan to vote against the compromise include such conservative stalwarts such as Rep. Michele Bachmann, the GOP presidential prospect from Minnesota; Rep. Steve King of Iowa; Rep. Ron Paul of Texas; Rep. Allen West of Florida; and Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio.
Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana is also reportedly leaning toward a no vote.
Among Republicans expected to vote for the plan: Rep. Duncan Hunter of California; Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California; and Rep. Kristi Noem of South Dakota.
GOP leaders say they wanted deeper cuts, but were limited because Republicans only control the House. “We continue to push this president to places he never said he would go,” House GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy of California told The Associated Press.
The vote is expected to be much closer in the Senate, where 60 votes are required to stave off a filibuster.
GOP Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, appearing on Fox and Friends Thursday morning, expressed grave reservations about the proposal, saying it “takes us in the wrong direction.
The Hill reports that at least seven other senators have indicated they will oppose the compromise, including: Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C.; Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis.; Sen. Mike Lee, R. Utah; Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.; Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho; and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
The reason the deal only cuts $352 million in spending from the 2011 budget: It is offset by increases in defense spending. Also, many of the reductions made will fall in future years, the CBO said.
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