With the revelation that Republicans surrendered everything to the Democrats in the latest budget “deal” on Capitol Hill, conservatives are furious. And Democrats are bragging.
“Early on in this debate, Democrats clearly laid out our principles,” said Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. “At the end of the day, this is an agreement that reflects those principles.”
Conservatives are spitting mad and rightfully so. “Instead of fighting for President Trump’s conservative budget priorities, they have surrendered to the Democrats once again,” said Ken Cuccinelli, head of the Senate Conservatives Fund.
If one didn’t know it, the only reasonable conclusion is that Democrats are in charge of Congress.
Democrats are elated over the $1.07 trillion budget deal, which reads almost like an Obama administration blueprint. Gone is money for President Donald Trump’s border wall or efforts to deny Obamacare subsidies. There’s billions more for non-defense spending, and no changes to President Barack Obama’s Cuba policy.
“It’s no different than if Hillary was elected; it’s a huge loss, and I’m livid. Paul Ryan’s House is a not conservative House,” said tea party Republican Art Halvorson, who nearly defeated Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., in the 2016 primary with 49.4 percent of the vote.
Conservative groups are watching their members, too. Dozens are expected to vote no, meaning GOP leaders will need Democratic votes to pass the budget. Heritage Action, a leading conservative group, will likely make opposing the budget vote a key vote in its scorecard of votes to watch.
Ryan now faces the same challenge from the right as his embattled predecessor, John Boehner, R-Ohio. Boehner left the office in 2015 after conservatives grew increasingly disgusted with his leadership. They were upset over how time after time he made similar deals with Democrats to get fiscal matters resolved.
Conservatives, already frustrated in recent weeks at the leadership’s inability to get the votes to repeal and replace Obamacare, see a similar pattern emerging.
“Instead of defending status quo, GOP should be defending Constitution, Rule of Law, federalism, free speech/markets, responsible budgeting,” Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., said on Twitter.
While no viable challenge to Ryan appears imminent, the prospect of conservative primary challengers to GOP center-right loyalists looms.
“Republican leaders promised things would be different if Republicans won the White House, but this bill proves that nothing has changed,” said Cuccinelli. “This is why it is so important for Republican voters to elect true conservatives in the upcoming midterm elections.”
The party’s center-right incumbents face a different problem. Cooperation with Democrats could be to their advantage, but the party’s internal squabbles could depress enthusiasm among the GOP base, said Kyle Kondik, a political analyst at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.