Angry Republican lawmakers and conservatives are howling about the massive spending bill signed into law Friday – slamming the party's leadership for pushing through a "bad deal" that'll only anger voters "fed up with the Washington cartel."
While President Barack Obama and congressional leaders – including newly minted House Speaker Paul Ryan – defended the bipartisan deal
hiking spending across government and extending a host of special interest tax breaks, critics sounded a starkly different note.
"I think this omnibus was a betrayal of the men and women who elected us," Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz said Friday.
"I think this omnibus was a betrayal of the men and women who elected us. It was Republican leadership playing Santa Claus to the lobbyists … and the special interests, and it's why people are fed up with the Washington cartel."
Alabama GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions echoed Cruz's portrayal of the deal as a "betrayal" of the trust conservative voters put in GOP leaders last year, adding that Congress should have at the very least reigned in Obama's refugee resettlement plan.
"There is a reason that GOP voters are in open rebellion," Sessions told The Washington Times
Louisiana GOP Rep. John Fleming, in a radio interview prior to his "no" vote on the deal,
derided the legislation
as "a laundry list of things that are not on it... and things that shouldn't be in it," calling it a "bad deal."
"We could have gone to the mat on it," he said. "[Speaker] Paul [Ryan] kind of threw down his weapons and decided not to fight on this. That's what everyone's so angry about…"
The spending deal combines $1.14 trillion in new spending next year and $680 billion in tax cuts over the coming decade. It also fully funds many of Obama's initiatives, including Obamacare, Planned Parenthood, sanctuary cities, climate change, refugee resettlement programs — and provides for an increase in foreign-worker visas.
In addition, a 40-year ban on oil exports would be lifted with the law — something long sought by Republicans.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, another GOP presidential primary contender, argued Republicans got so little because "we’ve got a very weak leadership going on in the House and Senate."
"I’m sorry, I thought they were going to do better, but I’m ashamed of them," the former Arkansas governor told "The Hugh Hewitt Show"
in an interview. "I’m mad at them.
"I just felt like that they capitulated on virtually everything of great substance," he said. "Basically, the Democrats had the banquet — and what we got to do was go eat up the crumbs that were left under the table at the feet of the Democrats once they got finished gorging themselves on all the food that [President Barack] Obama wanted."
Huckabee told Hewitt the lift on oil exports wasn't good enough.
"Republicans basically got nothing that said conservatives are the majority in the House and Senate," he said. ""You can say 'Okay, well, we’re going to export oil.' Well, that's terrific. We should have been doing that anyway.
Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, also slammed the deal, calling it a last-minute mess full of “wasteful, unnecessary, and inappropriate pork-barrel projects," Military Times reports.
In a blistering analysis by Breitbart News
, Ryan's "first major legislative achievement" was critiqued as a "total and complete sell-out of the American people masquerading as an appropriations bill."
"What may prove most discouraging of all to Americans is that recent reports reveal that conservatives in the so-called House Freedom Caucus are praising Ryan even as he permanently locks in these irreversible and anti-American immigration policies," Breitbart writes.
And radio talk-show icon Rush Limbaugh accused Republicans
of selling the nation "down the river again" with the legislation.
Pete Sepp, president of the National Taxpayers Union, told the Sinclair Broadcast Group
one aspect of the deal stood out as the "worst."
"The single worst part about the omnibus is that it's going to continue the policy of breaking spending caps that congress had agreed to previously," he said.
And that aspect was a deal breaker for Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Scott Perry.
"For me it was a no vote," he told the outlet. "We broke the budget caps; we're breaking the bank for the American taxpayer."
The pundits weighed in too, including Vox editor-in-chief Ezra Klein.
Conservative Virginia Rep. Dave Brat, a former college teacher, says Ryan deserves an "F"
on his first budget bill.
Material from The Associated Press and Reuters was used in this report.
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