Several House conservative members have come out in opposition to the budget deal crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA).
At a press conference Wednesday hosted by the Heritage Foundation’s Rob Bluey, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) came out in public opposition to Ryan’s deal.
“I’m in the ‘no’ category,” Jordan said. “There are certainly some positives to the agreement that the chairman and members of the committee worked out,” Jordan said, before adding that “we all know that we have to address the concerns that sequestration has on the actual Defense [budget].”
But Jordan said he views this deal to be a betrayal of GOP principles the entire House Republican conference set in stone at a retreat in Williamsburg, Va., earlier this year. “But my big concern is fundamental,” Jordan said. “Eleven months ago, our conference made a decision. The entire conference made a decision. I was the one who pushed our conference to focus on this goal and it’s real simple: ‘We will not get rid of the sequester unless and until we get the kind of big savings in mandatory programs, the real changes that would preserve and change those programs, and put our nation on a path to balance within the next 10 years.’ That was always the goal.”
“Everyone in the conference agreed that was the goal,” Jordan continued. “That was what we all agreed to at Williamsburg just 11 months ago. I would argue that this agreement, while it has some positives, and I’m commending the people that worked on it and what they put together, is a marked departure from what we all agreed we’d set out to do and it is not going to put us on that path to balance that everyone — everyone — in the country knows we need to do if we’re ever going to solve this fiscal mess and get our economy growing again.”
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) said he opposes the deal because it raises spending now, and promises deficit reduction later. “I’m still waiting on the final numbers but to the deficit reduction matter, it will occur, I think perhaps two presidents from now,” he said before joking: “It could be Hillary’s second term as president before we actually achieve what was noted as a real deficit reduction.”
Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) said he is “undecided” on how harshly he will oppose this deal, but is a definite “no.”
“I’m undecided,” Labrador said. “I haven’t decided whether I’m going to be a really strong no or just a no. I think it’s a terrible plan. I think it undoes everything we set out in the Williamsburg, I think it actually violates every principle that we talked about in the Williamsburg Accord. It also makes promises to the American people that are false. It tells the American people that we are going to save $23 billion in the out years when we all know that’s not going to happen.”
Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) said he opposes the deal as well, and questions whether Democrats are taking advantage of Ryan.
“I’m against it,” Mulvaney said. “I worry that Paul [Ryan] is being overly optimistic about how the Senate intends to act going forward. What we were told today is that now we finally have spending levels with bipartisan support that will be written into law allowing the appropriations process to go through regular order. We have that right now. We have a bipartisan spending level set in law. And it’s called the BCA [Budget Control Act], the sequester. Democrats have refused to abide by the law. So, my question to Paul [Ryan] is not whether Paul is a good conservative or not–we know that he is–my question to Paul would be what makes you think Democrats are going to be any different in September than they are right now?”
Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) expressed opposition to the plan as well. “I would just express a high degree of skepticism,” McClintock said of the deal during his remarks on it before later adding: “We’re led to believe that although we can’t summon the political will to maintain the sequester over two years, we will maintain it for the ten years that follow.”
This news comes as reports have surfaced that Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will vote against the deal, and that Senate Minority Whip Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Senate GOP conference chairman Sen. John Thune (R-SD) have expressed skepticism that will likely turn into opposition as well.
House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), on the other hand, has endorsed Ryan’s budget deal and is expected to try to force it through the House this week with votes on Thursday or Friday.