Tea Party and Conservatives Revolt Over Trivial Budget Deal — Videos
BUREAU OF THE FISCAL SERVICE STAR - TREASURY FINANCIAL DATABASE TABLE 1. SUMMARY OF RECEIPTS, OUTLAYS AND THE DEFICIT/SURPLUS BY MONTH OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT (IN MILLIONS) ACCOUNTING DATE: 11/13 PERIOD RECEIPTS OUTLAYS DEFICIT/SURPLUS (-) + ____________________________________________________________ _____________________ _____________________ _____________________ PRIOR YEAR OCTOBER 184,316 304,311 119,995 NOVEMBER 161,730 333,841 172,112 DECEMBER 269,508 270,699 1,191 JANUARY 272,225 269,342 -2,883 FEBRUARY 122,815 326,354 203,539 MARCH 186,018 292,548 106,530 APRIL 406,723 293,834 -112,889 MAY 197,182 335,914 138,732 JUNE 286,627 170,126 -116,501 JULY 200,030 297,627 97,597 AUGUST 185,370 333,293 147,923 SEPTEMBER 301,469 226,355 -75,114 YEAR-TO-DATE 2,774,011 3,454,243 680,232 CURRENT YEAR OCTOBER 198,927 290,520 91,592 NOVEMBER 182,453 317,679 135,226 YEAR-TO-DATE 381,380 608,199 226,819
House Speaker Boehner Slams Conservative Groups For Opposing Budget Deal – Cavuto
Sen. Mike Lee • ObamaCare • Budget Deal • Hannity • 12/11/13 •
Rand Paul on Budget Deal: ‘I Can’t Believe Any Conservative Would Consider This Budget Deal’
Mark Levin to Paul Ryan: Budget Deal is ‘Mickey Mouse’
Two year budget deal announced to avoid gov’t shut down
Reaction to lawmakers announcing budget agreement
New Budget Deal Announced By Ryan and Murray
Key congressional budget negotiators on Tuesday said they reached a budget agreement to avert a government shutdown and bring a rare dose of stability to Congress’s fiscal policy-making over the next two years.
New budget accord saves $23 billion — after $65 billion spending spree
Key lawmakers from both parties announced Tuesday a bipartisan budget proposal that would avoid another government shutdown and restore some defense spending that would have been lost to upcoming sequester cuts.
Rep. Paul Ryan, brushing aside objections from some fiscal conservatives that the proposal would undo spending caps that have helped slow the growth of the federal deficit, told reporters the compromise is a win for the GOP.
The Wisconsin Republican, the House’s chief budget writer, said the deal would reverse about $65 billion in previously agreed-upon automatic spending cuts to the military and other government programs.
“I see this agreement as a step in the right direction,” he said. “In divided government, you don’t always get what you want. That said, we still can make progress toward our goals. I see this agreement as that kind of progress.”
“Earlier this year, I called on Congress to work together on a balanced approach to a budget that grows our economy faster and creates more jobs — not through aimless, reckless spending cuts that harm our economy now, but by making sure we can afford to invest in the things that have always grown our economy and strengthened our middle class,” Mr. Obama said. “Today’s bipartisan budget agreement is a good first step.”
The House-Senate deal sets the top-line spending number at $1.012 trillion for the rest of the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, and $1.014 trillion for fiscal 2015, which begins Oct. 1.
The proposed spending is more than the levels lawmakers approved in the 2011 Budget Control Act, which would have capped non-mandatory government spending at $967 billion in 2014, with the cuts coming from, among other places, the military, Veterans Affairs and the FBI.
The details of the deal remained sketchy as of press time, though Mr. Ryan and Mrs. Murray said they would post the proposal on their respective websites and it would require that federal employees and members of the military pay more for their retirement benefits.
“We think it’s only right and fair that they pay something more toward their pensions just like the hardworking taxpayer who pays for those pensions in the first place,” Mr. Ryan said.
The deal faces challenges from both the political left and the right, with conservatives warning that they could not support a deal that increased spending levels and liberals pushing back against making federal employees contribute more to their pensions.
Democrats also are frustrated with the growing prospect that Congress will not come up with the $26 billion to extend unemployment benefits for more than 1.3 million people through the end of next year.
Mrs. Murray acknowledged that neither side got everything it wanted, but that the compromise will bring some stability to a government that has been run by fiscal crisis for years.
“We have some differences in policies, but we agree that our country needs some certainty and we need to show that we can work together,” she said.
Conservative groups, meanwhile, pushed back against reports that the deal includes higher “fees” and other gimmicks that critics say are tax hikes in disguise, including fees on airline tickets.
Chris Edwards, editor of DownsizingGovernment.org at the Cato Institute, said it would be hard for Republicans to get conservatives to back a proposal that surrenders ground on the sequesters.
“Politically, I just think it’s crazy for Republicans. Here is the one big thing, they can say, ‘We held President Obama’s feet to the fire and passed the Budget Control Act of 2011.’ It’s really paying dividends now, spending has been flat for the past two years,” he said. “They are going to be throwing away their single biggest accomplishment on fiscal policy for the past few years. It would be like President Obama throwing away Obamacare.”
“[Appropriators] are just playing trench warfare, pushing the trench forward a year at a time. If they break the cap this year, they’ll feel empowered to push hard and try to break the caps next year,” he said.
Heritage Action said that it could not support a budget deal that “would increase spending in the near-term for promises of woefully inadequate long-term reductions.”
“While imperfect, the sequester has proven to be an effective tool in forcing Congress to reduce discretionary spending, and a gimmicky, spend-now-cut-later deal will take our nation in the wrong direction,” the conservative think tank said in a statement.
“As a conservative, I deal with the situation as it exists,” Mr. Ryan said. “I deal with the way things are, not necessarily the way I want them to be.”
US congressional leaders unveil two-year budget deal
• Deal will relieve worst effects of the sequester
Congress was on the verge of the first bipartisan budget deal in nearly three decades on Tuesday night after Democrat and Republican negotiators unveiled a proposal to fix federal spending at $1.012tn.
The long-awaited agreement struck between senator Patty Murray and congressman Paul Ryan staves off the threat of another government shutdown for two years and will relieve the worst effects of blanket budget cuts known as the sequester.
Aspects of the deal may alarm both parties, particularly Democrats, who are being asked to accept additional spending cuts, no new taxes and increased pension contributions from public sector workers.
Nevertheless the prospect of ending years of political deadlock appeared to satisfy political leaders of both parties, whose expectations have been lowered by the recent government shutdown and a virtual standstill on a host of other issues.
Barack Obama declared the budget deal “a good first step” and both House speaker John Boehner and and majority leader Eric Cantor indicated they would allow a vote to pass with a mixture of Republican and Democrat support.
Congress has been deadlocked over the budget since Democrats lost control of the House in the 2010 midterm elections and the proposal from Murray and Ryan represents the first realistic chance of a divided government agreeing a formal budget since 1986.
If passed by the House and Senate, the two-year deal would fix federal spending at $1.012tn in 2014 and $1.014tn in 2015 – roughly halfway between the $1.058tn sought by Democrats in the Senate and the $967bn proposed by the Republican-controlled House.
The blanket sequester cuts would be reduced by $63bn over the two years, split equally between defence and non-defence spending, although Republicans also succeeded in negotiating a further $20-$23bn in deficit reduction.
Rather than raising new taxes to pay for the sequester relief – something Republicans were implacably opposed to – negotiators agreed to raise additional government revenue through fees, such as airport charges and by demanding that federal workers pay more toward their pensions.
Union umbrella group, the AFL-CIO, has already hit out at the proposal, arguing that federal workers were acting as a “punching bag” for Republicans.
There was also no agreement over the vexed issue of long-term unemployment benefits, which are due to expire shortly, or any agreement on medicare or social security reforms, which Republicans had been pushing for.
Senator Patty Murray, Democratic chair of the budget committee, admitted much was missing from the deal.
We need to acknowledge that there are long-term structural problems that this deal does not address,” she told reporters. “This deal does not solve all of our problems but it is an important step.”
“For far too long here in Washington DC, compromise has been a dirty word, especially when it comes to the budget,” added Murray.
“For years we have lurched from crisis to crisis. That uncertainty was devastating to our fragile economic recovery.”
Ryan also portrayed the deal as a major breakthrough but played down expectations among his own supporters.
“The agreement is a clear improvement on the status quo … it makes sure we don’t lurch from crisis to crisis,” said the chairman of the House budget committee.
“We have been talking all year, but that hard work has paid off. In divided government you don’t always get what you want.”
The proposal, which will be voted on by the House later this week, was also welcomed by the White House.
“This agreement doesn’t include everything I’d like – and I know many Republicans feel the same way,” President Obama said in a statement. “That’s the nature of compromise. But it’s a good sign that Democrats and Republicans in Congress were able to come together and break the cycle of short-sighted, crisis-driven decision-making to get this done.”
All-out war breaks out in GOP over budget
Tea party groups and fiscal conservatives wasted no time Wednesday in savaging a bipartisan budget agreement negotiated between House Republicans and Senate Democrats, drawing an unusually angry response from House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican.
All sides were rating the winners and losers in the deal struck a day earlier between House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, Washington Democrat. The modest deficit-cutting deal had some sweeteners for defense contractors and oil drillers, while air travelers, federal workers and some corporate executives would take a hit.
But most of the passion focused on the politics of the deal, with Mr. Ryan, Mr. Boehner and the House GOP leadership defending their handiwork from attacks from conservative colleagues on Capitol Hill and from outside groups such as the Club for Growth, Heritage Action and Americans for Prosperity. Critics said the agreement effectively raised taxes in the form of higher fees, failed to restrain entitlement programs and permitted new spending in the short term in exchange for vague promises of long-term cuts.
Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, said in an interview that Republicans sacrificed their biggest point of leverage — the tough “sequester” spending cuts that were already in force — in the rush to get a short-term deal that did not address the long-term costs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
“I am against [the deal] from just a basic point that we embarked on a position at the beginning of the year that said, ‘We will keep the sequester in place unless we get to make changes on mandatory spending that will save those program and put the budget on path to balance within the next 10 years,’” Mr. Jordan said.
Added Chris Chocola, president of the fiscally hawkish Club for Growth, “Apparently, there are some Republicans who don’t have the stomach for even relatively small spending reductions that are devoid of budgetary smoke and mirrors. If Republicans work with Democrats to pass this deal, it should surprise no one when Republican voters seek alternatives who actually believe in less spending when they go to the ballot box.”
Despite conservative unhappiness and tepid reviews from many House Democrats, the proposal could be voted on in the House as early as Thursday and Mr. Ryan said Wednesday on CNN that he is confident he has the votes to pass the bill.
Mr. Boehner used unusually pointed language in hitting back at conservative opponents of the deal, charging that critics opposed the agreement even before knowing what was in it.
“They’re using our members and the American people to their own purposes,” an angry Mr. Boehner said. “This is ridiculous.”
The Congressional Budget Office estimated Wednesday that the bulk of the plan’s deficit reduction would come in the final three years of the deal, while the new spending would happen over the next two years.
The estimate followed news that the U.S. government ran a $135.2 billion budget deficit through the first two months of the year — well short of the $226.8 billion deficit the nation had built up by this time a year ago. The Treasury Department said that more revenue was coming into the federal government thanks to higher tax rates and an improving economy.
The Ryan-Murray agreement increases spending in 2014 to $1.012 trillion and in 2015 to $1.014 trillion and restores more than $60 billion in sequester spending cuts.
The new spending is offset in part by lowering the cost-of-living adjustment for military retirees, requiring higher pension contributions from recently hired federal employees and raising fees on travelers collected by the Transportation Security Administration.
Some winners in the deal included the Pentagon and the defense industry, where much of the defense-related sequester cuts were restored, and the energy industry, which won expanded rights for joint drilling along the U.S.-Mexico border and in the Gulf of Mexico.
Industries and interests that emerged as losers in the final deal were quick to make their unhappiness known.
“As we have said consistently, airlines and our customers are already overtaxed, and we are disappointed that fees on air travel were increased, and believe those higher taxes will impact demand, jobs and our economy,” said Katie Connell, spokeswoman for Airlines for America, a Washington-based trade group representing U.S. airlines.
The National Treasury Employees Union launched a pre-emptive strike against the proposal, saying last week that federal employees had suffered enough under pay freezes and furloughs.
“We continue to believe that there should be zero cuts to federal pay and benefits in this deal and that federal employees are being asked to contribute a disproportionate share toward deficit reduction,” the group said Wednesday.
National Nurses United took issues with the cuts aimed at federal workers, especially nurses working in Veterans Affairs hospitals.
“There is no reason to cheer an agreement that requires unwarranted pension cuts for federal workers, including VA nurses who earned that pension, underfunds nutrition programs and fails to extend assistance for the long-term unemployed,” said Jean Ross, co-president of the nurses group.
Military members said they are also bearing more than their fair share of the government’s financial problems. Military retirees’ cost-of-living allowance will be decreased to 1 percent below the inflation rate, leading to a 20 percent cut to retirement benefits over their lives, according to a statement from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
“The budget agreement balances the budget on the backs of military retirees. It’s the latest example of how Washington is broken, forcing those who have sacrificed the most over the last 10 years to choose between this deal, sequestration or government shutdown,” said Paul Rieckhoff, chief executive officer of IAVA.
Many liberal lawmakers said the federal budget should not be balanced on the backs of federal workers and that the bill could have trouble passing if it does not extend unemployment insurance for the 1.3 million Americans who are set to get kicked off the rolls before the end of the year.
“That does put the overall effort at risk,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Maryland Democrat.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat and supporter of the plan, tried to ease some of the concerns coming from his side of the aisle by vowing to push for an extension of unemployment insurance and for an increase in the minimum wage when the Senate returns to Washington after the new year.
Tea partiers turn on Capitol Hill budget deal
Tea party and conservative groups pounced on the budget proposal that congressional leaders carved out behind closed doors, saying that the plan is based on the faulty premise of increasing spending now in exchange for future spending cuts that will never materialize.
They said that House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, the GOP budget negotiator, can kiss goodbye any chance of winning over grassroots activists if he chooses to run for president in 2016 after he surrendered ground on across-the-board “sequester” cuts to spending rolled back in the new deal.
“While no one was expecting a grand bargain, we hoped that the budget leaders would stand by the only fiscally responsible accomplishment of Obama’s presidency: sequestration,” said Amy Kremer, chairwoman of the Tea Party Express. “This budget deal creates a faux peace in Washington, D.C., while burdening taxpayers by sweeping the impending fiscal crisis under the rug.”
Mr. Ryan and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, Washington Democrat, announced late Tuesday that they had reached a two-year budget deal that would reduce the deficit by $23 billion over ten years without raising taxes.
The proposal restored $63 billion on the across-the-board “sequester” cuts to defense and non-defense programs. It also included higher fees on airline travel and requires federal employees to contribute more for their retirement benefits.
“Paul Ryan is telling America that he will gladly pay us Tuesday for a hamburger today,” Mr. Phillips said. “It should forever dissuade us of the idea that the Republican Party is the party of fiscal conservatism.”
Mr. Phillips said that Mr. Ryan has shown that he is “is another Washington insider who will talk to the public about how fiscally conservative he is and then he goes to Washington and wants to spend money like a drunken Democrat.”
“As far as the conservative movement is concern, Ryan is not only the 2016 candidate of ‘no,’ but ‘hell no.’ There is no way he will have grassroots support after this deal,” he said.
For his part, Mr. Ryan, who has no ruled out a presidential run, told reporters that the the plan is a step in the right direction because it achieves deficit reduction without increasing taxes.
“As a conservative, I deal with the situation as it exists,” Mr. Ryan said. “I deal with the way things are, not necessarily the way things I want them to be.”