Ralph Reed: I Would 'Vote No' on Budget Deal

Thursday, 12 Dec 2013 04:00 PM

By Lisa Barron and John Bachman

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Conservative political activist Ralph Reed says he does not like the Ryan-Murray budget, but it was the only possible outcome given the current makeup of the government.

Speaking to Newsmax TV one day after House Speaker John Boehner lashed out at conservatives who have opposed the legislation, Reed said, "If I were a member of Congress, I would probably vote no in this deal, and I have a lot of good friends…who are already on record saying that they will vote against it."

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"But on the other hand," he continued, "there are people of good will and conservative principles like Paul Ryan who are not trying to oversell this. They're not saying this is a great deal. They're not saying this is a perfect deal. They're saying this is the best we can do with divided government and a liberal, Democratic-controlled Senate and a liberal Democrat president at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue."

Reed, who was the first executive director of the Christian Coalition in the early 1990s, started the Faith and Freedom Coalition in June 2009. He sought the Republican nomination for the office of Lieutenant Governor of Georgia in 2006 but lost the primary election to state Sen. Casey Cagle.

Reed declined to comment directly on Boehner's remarks.

"I would just say that if we want to get a better budget, the only way to do it is to elect a Senate in 2014 and add a margin in House that will enable us to pass that incentive. I'd personally like to see us into balance a lot faster, three to five years, without raising taxes, through fiscal responsibility and reform of long-term entitlements like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid."

He continued, "We have the ideas, we have the solutions. The problem is the U.S. Senate today is controlled by Harry Reid, Barack Obama, and Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin, and it is the graveyard for our solutions for this country. If we can see a new Senate…where we could sit down with conferees in regular order and pass a better budget, send it to Barack Obama, then he's got to either sign it or veto it. That will put us in a much stronger negotiating position."

Turning to foreign policy, Reed said he thinks there will be new sanctions against Iran moving forward.

"The tougher sanctions that we helped pass over the objections of the Obama administration are what drove the Iranians to their knees economically, it is what has put some of the government-owned energy into bankruptcy in Iran, and it is what forced the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world to the table."

He criticized the deal that was recently negotiated, explaining, "It allows them to keep their uranium enrichment program, it allows them to keep all of their nuclear installations, and I don't think that the verification is invasive enough or trustworthy enough. If we want to be able to get to a deal, and all of us want to avoid military action if it is at all possible, the best way to do so is for the Congress to pass even tougher sanctions now."

Asked why the Obama administration would resist that approach, Reed responded, "Their stated reason is because they believe that it has the potential to derail the diplomatic track. My argument on that is we've seen this movie before. They have argued this with sanctions passed previously and they have been proven wrong."

"The only way to move them diplomatically is with the threat of additional pressure from additional sanctions," he added.

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