WASHINGTON -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) took a hard swing Wednesday at conservative groups opposing the newly announced bipartisan budget deal.
"You mean the groups that came out and opposed it before they ever saw it?" he said in a response to a reporter's question.
Before the deal was even announced on Tuesday, Heritage Action and Americans For Prosperity stated their opposition to it. Following the announcement, Club For Growth said it would oppose the deal and include it on its congressional scorecard.
"They're using our members and they're using the American people for their own goals. This is ridiculous," Boehner said loudly. "Listen, if you're for more deficit reduction, you're for this agreement."
The deal reached by House Budget Chair Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Budget Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) modestly raises spending levels from $967 billion to $1.014 trillion by 2015, counteracting approximately one-third of sequestration cuts. It also reduces the deficit by $20 to $23 billion by hiking airline fees and requiring federal workers and military personnel to kick in more for their pensions.
Boehner's tone toward the conservative groups was unusually aggressive, a further signal that he wants the deal to pass the House Republican caucus, where the groups hold sway among members.
Levi Russell, Director of Public Affairs for Americans For Prosperity, responded to Boehner's comments. "AFP stood with House Republicans earlier this spring when they passed modest spending limits set by the sequester," Russell said. "That bipartisan agreement was signed by President Obama and set spending levels at $967 billion. It’s disappointing to see leadership give up even those modest gains with nothing to show for it."
“Americans are deeply concerned about the direction of the country. 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," said Dan Holler, communications director for Heritage Action.
Club For Growth released a statement as well. "We stand with Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Tom Coburn, Rand Paul, members of the Republican Study Committee and every other fiscal conservative who opposes the Ryan-Murray deal,” said the group's president, Chris Chocola. “After carefully reviewing the budget deal, on which we never commented until it was complete, we determined that it would increase the size of government. We support pro-growth proposals when they are considered by Congress. In our evaluation, this isn’t one of those.”