The Tea Party loses again when it comes to the tentative budget deal worked out over the weekend, and it looks like Orange Julius is giving President Obama everything he wanted as he exists, stage left.
GOP leaders from both ends of the Capitol met privately with their rank-and-file Monday evening to outline the general contours of the emerging agreement between Congress and the White House. It would boost defense and domestic spending over the next two years, and lift the nation’s debt limit through March 2017 — thereby eliminating the twin threats of a government shutdown and a debt default until after the November 2016 elections.
But conservative lawmakers, eager to keep the strict spending caps from a 2011 budget agreement intact, were very skeptical of the deal after they emerged from close-door briefings with their leaders on Monday night.
Asked about the tentative agreement after the briefing, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions replied: “My knees quiver at the sound.”
In an interview, Sessions expressed frustration that outgoing Speaker John Boehner was hammering out the deal just days before he plans to give up the gavel for good. “What does Boehner got to do with it?” said an exasperated Sessions, the former top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee. “I’m worried about how fast it’s moving. I see no reason for that. Based on what I know now, it appears the president got whatever he wanted.”
Suckers. You lose again. And you always will...and it prevents major cuts to Social Security in the future.
Not only will the increased spending levels make for heartburn with conservatives, but many of the offsets touch on political hot buttons.
Those pay-fors include a repeal of a piece of Obamacare, according to congressional sources. It would repeal Obamacare’s requirement that large employers automatically enroll employees in their health plans. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that a different bill to repeal that provision would save the federal government $7.9 billion over a decade.
The plan would also prevent a 20 percent across-the-board benefit cut to the Social Security Disability Insurance program, resulting in $168 billion in long-term savings. The tentative deal would also be paid for by extending the Medicare sequester that was approved in the Budget Control Act for another year and setting up additional cuts to hospitals.
The tentative agreement would also impose policy changes to disability insurance, tax compliance, crop insurance, spectrum and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Lawmakers and aides cautioned that the negotiations were not completed, and some details could change before details are made public — likely by later Monday night.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas dryly acknowledged: “I don’t think you’ll hear anybody popping any champagne corks.”
Indeed, conservatives across the country have been watching for months to see how GOP leaders handle the spending caps that many on the right view as a major victory. Many conservatives are likely to interpret the budget deal, even with some new spending paid for with cuts and new revenues, as a retreat from the blunt spending restrictions of the Budget Control Act that was enacted into law in 2011.
So yes, a big reversal of sequestration cuts that have been hurting the economy for years now. No wonder the Republicans are furious.
Will the deal pass? We'll find out.