Boehner lashes out at conservative groups over budget deal
December 11th, 2013
03:06 PM ET
8 months ago

Boehner lashes out at conservative groups over budget deal

(CNN) – House Speaker John Boehner lashed out at grassroots conservative groups opposed to a compromise budget deal, accusing them on Wednesday of "using our members and using the American people for their own goals."

The Speaker said their actions were "ridiculous" and noted some of them came out against the bipartisan budget agreement even before it was announced on Tuesday.

The measure struck by Republican House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and his Senate counterpart, Democrat Patty Murray, aims to avert another shutdown like the one that closed the government for more than two weeks in October.

Many rank-and-file Republicans signaled they could back the deal and predicted it would pass the House on Thursday.

The measure will likely need support from minority Democrats since some Republicans are expected to oppose it.

The White House urged Congress to approve the measure.

Deal aims to avert shutdown

The agreement sets government spending at $1.012 trillion for the current fiscal year that runs through September and $1.014 trillion for next year.

It would eliminate $45 billion from the next round of largely unpopular forced federal spending cuts - known as sequestration - that are set to hit in January and another $18 billion scheduled for 2015.

Overall, it proposes to save $85 billion and would reduce the deficit by more than $20 billion once the money spared from sequestration is factored in, budget leaders said.

Boehner's comments to reporters were aimed at some of the same organizations that have effectively pressured House Republicans previously to not compromise on budget issues.

They include Americans for Prosperity, Club for Growth, Freedom Works, Heritage Action and the Koch brothers, GOP campaign financiers.

Boehner made similar comments questioning the motives of some of the groups at a closed-door meeting with all House Republicans to discuss the agreement.

Diminished impact apparent

The Speaker told members that "no one controls your voting card but you," according to a GOP source in the meeting.

But with this deal, their impact appears to be diminished with signs of growing Republican support.

I'm not sure that the outside groups are going to be able to influence us," said Rep. John Fleming, a conservative from Louisiana.

Fleming said conservative groups won't be able to sway as many conservatives because so many like the idea of the deal returning Congress to what's known as regular order - deliberating and passing bills the way they're supposed to be done, instead of backroom deals amid crisis.

But Idaho GOP Rep Raul Labrador, a critic of the plan, responded to Boehner's comments.

"What is it that groups said yesterday that is false today?" he asked.

Labrador touted his approval rating with Heritage Action at a Capitol Hill forum sponsored by the advocacy group that is growing in influence. He said anyone who suggests his vote is for sale "is sadly mistaken"

Conservative criticism

Dan Holler, a spokesman for Heritage Action, didn't back down from his criticism of the budget deal.

"Over the next few days, lawmakers will have to explain to their constituents, many of whom are our members, what they've achieved by increasing spending, increasing taxes and offering up another round of promises waiting to be broken. That will be a really tough sell back home," Holler said in a statement to CNN.

Ryan, the chief negotiator of the deal, gave what even opponents called a stellar closed-door presentation to fellow Republicans.

Top House Republican leaders also told their members they recognized some were disappointed with the proposal. But it met their test to continue reducing the deficit and was a good deal given the political limitations on Capitol Hill.

"It's the best compromise you can get in divided government," said Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican, agreeing with Ryan's argument for supporting the deal.

Fleming, who tends to vote against any compromise of conservative principles on economic issues, said Ryan gave a convincing argument that, long term, this bipartisan deal begins to address excess spending Republicans rail against.

Rep. Matt Salmon, an Arizona Republican, told reporters he plans to vote "no" because he is disappointed this doesn't do more to address the biggest contributors to the debt and deficit, like Medicare and Medicaid.

"It's an incredibly small baby step," said Salmon, conceding that the measure would ultimately pass.

Sequester cuts, security fee

Other Republicans will oppose it for other reasons, like the decision to ease the sequester or the proposal to increase the fee paid by airline passengers to help cover federal aviation security costs. Some see that as a tax hike.

Because of that GOP opposition, Democrats will have to join Republicans in order for the budget deal to pass.

Although Democrats have different problems with the budget agreement, several came out of their Wednesday meeting saying they, too, expect the proposal to pass before the House leaves town for the holidays this week.

"I'll hold my nose and vote 'yes,'" said Rep Gerry Connolly, a Virginia Democrat.

He has federal workers in his suburban Washington-area district who would have to contribute more to their federal pensions as a result of the deal.

Many Democrats are also concerned the deal leaves out an extension of long-term unemployment benefits.


Filed under: Budget • Congress • John Boehner
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    Don't be fooled.

    It's an election year soon and they will kiss a lot of a$$ to keep the house and fight Obama his last 2 years.

    Nothing more. Not a sign of a change of heart, just wanting power 2 more years. Mark my word.

    December 11, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  2. sonny chapman

    "We have created a monster & now he's eating US" !-Mainstream Repubs.

    December 11, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    My o' my. Has John Boehner grown a pair? He can say that to those conservative, but can he say it to those TEAhadists in his caucus? That's question that remains to be seen.

    December 11, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  4. Randy, San Francisco

    It is about time Speaker Boehner get some back bone and stand up to Tea Partiers and conservative purists. Better late than never. He has jeopardized the welfare of this country long enough by pandering kow towing to the extreme right wing of his party.

    December 11, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  5. simplefaith

    Hope this bipartisan move is not fake. Compromise is the only way things can get done. Merry Christmas.

    December 11, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  6. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    I thought Boehner didn't like the word "COMPROMISE." The man can't even utter the word.

    December 11, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  7. The Real Tom Paine

    I'm sure he will start having death threats coming at him from Freedomworks.

    December 11, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    I love it. Mr. Speaker is in "Boehner Humbug" mode again. This never works out well for Republicans when he does it, most especially during the Xmas holidays.

    December 11, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    I'm sure Dr. Frankenstein was quite upset when his monster finally turned on him too.

    December 11, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "He said anyone who suggests his vote is for sale "is sadly mistaken""

    Indeed. It's already purchased.

    December 11, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  11. texasnotea

    Republicans are just like the professional baseball player on the last year of his contract, they have determined that if they are going to get a new contract,"reelected", they better produce in the last year of the old contract. They are doing now by agreeing to a budget what they could/should have done 4 years ago.

    December 11, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    So Boehner, why don't you use some of that new found "courage" and tell your people to stay in town and
    work in the Farm Bill, unemployment compensation, minimum wages, etc. instead of heading home for some
    fun and faux town hall meetings?

    You have worked maybe 1/3 of the time this year. When will you earn your salaries and perks?????

    December 11, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  13. S. B. Stein

    So, conservatives want to have another shut down that hinders growth and raises unemployment temporarily? I guess it is more of the "it is my way or the highway" mentality. Not working on compromise isn't what the founding fathers wanted. They wanted everyone to work together.

    December 11, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  14. GOP = Greed Over People

    '"using our members and using the American people for their own goals."

    Too bad, the big crybaby is just now realizing that.

    It would have been nice if he could have had this epiphany BEFORE allowing the House GOP to do 24 billion dollars worth of damage to the U.S. economy and tax payers!

    December 11, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  15. texasnotea

    By the way, to all of you extreeme right wingers and regular gop'ers,this proves that the President doesn't do the budget, Congress does. All of those hate and fear posts from the far right blaming the President for not doing a budget shows your ignorance and stupidity. But I forget,facts are not important to you,only the lies you tell that you think are facts are.

    December 11, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  16. Would You Look at That

    Remind me again when obama, reid, or pelosi ever compromised... in any event, i won't be holding my breath waiting for a response

    December 11, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  17. ThinkAgain

    "House Speaker John Boehner lashed out at grassroots conservative groups opposed to a compromise budget deal, accusing them on Wednesday of "using our members and using the American people for their own goals."

    "The Speaker said their actions were "ridiculous" and noted some of them came out against the bipartisan budget agreement even before it was announced on Tuesday."

    You made this monster, Boehner – no one to blame but yourself. Do us all a favor and crawl back into your tanning bed to never come out again.

    December 11, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  18. SAtom

    It would eliminate $45 billion from the next round of largely unpopular forced federal spending cuts – known as sequestration – that are set to hit in January and another $18 billion scheduled for 2015.
    I would like to take exception to the statement "Largely unpopular forced spending cuts "
    The cuts were unpopular because it FORCED the government to reduce spending ! IT WAS UNPOPULAR ONLY BECAUSE IT WAS SUCESSFUL !
    And it wasn't LARGELY unpopular, only the Liberals didn't like it.

    December 11, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  19. Pieced Off

    It's about time JB told this vocal minority to buzz off.

    December 11, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  20. Silence DoGood

    @Would You Look at That
    Remind me again when obama, reid, or pelosi ever compromised... in any event, i won't be holding my breath waiting for a response
    ---------
    ACA is a compromise. Many liberals like me wanted socialized medicine – ACA doesn't go far enough!. They knew that would not fly so this ACA is a middle ground.

    December 11, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  21. Pieced Off

    And for a little perspective, the shutdown that the far right orchestrated cost $24B.

    This budget compromise is slated to save $23B...over TEN YEARS.

    The Tea Party isn't about fiscal conservatism. They're about capitulation and submission.

    December 11, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  22. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Screw the GOP and their minority conservative garbage of America teaparty loser going nowhere but backwards GROUPS, teaparty slugs !!!!!

    December 11, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  23. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Would You Look at That
    Remind me again when obama, reid, or pelosi ever compromised... in any event, i won't be holding my breath waiting for a response
    -----------------------------------------–
    Bush tax cut extension.(Due to hostage taking)

    December 11, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  24. Silence DoGood

    Boehner needs to stand up to the radical minority Tea Party. We cannot have a theocratic cult running things in this country. they get one vote each like me.

    December 11, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  25. Jules

    Chomp, chomp, chomp – GOP eating their own again. You think the Dems are happy with that agreement – no – but I think that they should vote for it.

    December 11, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
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