Conservative groups are rallying to save the sequester.
Even before the budget deal between Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and Democrat Sen. Patty Murray debuted at a news conference Tuesday evening, conservative groups were lining up to pan the work as a sellout of the 2011 budget deal that was finally forcing some spending discipline on lawmakers.
Among the top critics were Americans for Prosperity, the American Conservative Union and FreedomWorks.
As details of the proposal leaked out on Tuesday, Americans For Prosperity issued a scathing statement from President Tim Phillips demanding Republican lawmakers hold firm to the budget caps brought on by the Budget Control Act of 2011 – including the sequester cuts.
While President Obama and liberals in government and the media spent much of early 2013 predicting disaster from the federal sequester – predictions that disappeared as most of the cuts took place with hardly anyone noticing, the bulk of the sequester hit hard on defense spending, which is normally supported by conservatives.
Still, Phillips said, sticking with the cuts – and rejecting the Ryan-Murray deal – is the only way conservative lawmakers can keep faith with their voters.
“This past spring the American people sided with Republicans in the House when they stood firm in the face of President Obama’s hysterical predictions that the modest sequestration spending cuts would harm our nation,” Phillips said in a statement.
“Now, Republicans should once again stand firm in upholding the modest sequestration spending cuts that both parties agreed to for the current fiscal year. Otherwise, Congressional Republicans are joining liberal Democrats in breaking their word to the American people to finally begin reining in government over-spending that has left us over 17 trillion in debt.”
And he issued a veiled threat against Republicans who abandoned the course of federal spending cuts.
“The American people demanded, and were promised, reasonable spending limits,” Phillips said. “Politicians choosing to go back on their promise will be held accountable for their actions.”
Al Cardenas, chairman of the American Conservative Union, told Newsmax the agreement could be “the beginning of a more disciplined approach to spending,” but remained skeptical.
“We are not impressed by the cost-cutting gimmicks, and urge Congress to tell the Budget Conference to get back to work,” he said.
FreedomWorks Vice President Dean Clancy was much harsher.
“We strongly oppose it, and we are urging our members across the country to help us defeat it,” he said. “It is a typical Washington deal that increases spending today with the promise of deficit reduction 10 years from now.”
“We think that the sequester is a bird in the hand — and the proposed offsets are not worth two in the bush. It would be better to have no deal and simply flat-fund the government at current levels than to have this deal.”