The Ryan-Murray budget deal: The right reacts

Paul Ryan's budget deal gets a hostile reaction from the GOP base -- and those looking to win its favor for 2016

Published December 11, 2013 4:25PM (EST)

U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI)                                               (Reuters/Shannon Stapleton)
U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) (Reuters/Shannon Stapleton)

While the budget deal announced Tuesday night by Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray isn't being met with much enthusiasm on the left (Salon's David Dayen explains here why it's a kick in the teeth to federal workers), the response from the right-wing grass roots has been downright apoplectic. Despite the deal getting the OK from members of the conservative establishment like the Wall Street Journal, who calls it "a least bad budget deal," the GOP base — and those Republican politicians looking forward to 2016 — rejects Ryan's plan for being insufficiently conservative.

Among the grass roots, the deal is being strongly panned. “If Paul Ryan puts his name to any plan that takes away the sequester, the most effective mechanism we’ve had in the past decade to actually cut spending, he can kiss goodbye any chances of running for president in 2016,” said Todd Cefaratti, the founder of Tea Party group, according to the Daily Caller.

“This is a suicide mission for the Republicans,” Cefaratti continued. “After last year’s epic New Year’s Eve cave, Republicans are now contemplating another. They’ve fallen for the media spin that conservatives trying to cut spending are the problem in Washington.”

In Kentucky, meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's Tea Party-backed challenger, Matt Bevin, slammed the deal, saying, "Allowing Washington to continue its reckless spending today, with hopes of being responsible tomorrow, is a fool's game. We must stop mortgaging the futures of our children because career politicians are unwilling to stop spending borrowed money."

"We deserve better," Bevin added.

Sen. Rand Paul, positioning himself as always for a presidential run, also announced his opposition to the deal, calling it "a huge mistake to trade sequester cuts now, for the promise of cuts later." He described the plan as yet another example of Washington's propensity to say, "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today." Despite Paul Ryan's insistence that the deal does not raise taxes, Paul says it's "shameful" to "support a budget that raises taxes and never balances [the budget]."

Paul wasn't the only Republican senator to distance himself from Ryan's plan, either.

Appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn expressed his displeasure with the budget proposal, saying Ryan has "led to make a compromise that sells out what actually needs to be done.” When GOP operative Nicole Wallace responded in surprise that Coburn had effectively called Ryan a sellout, the Oklahoman rejected the characterization while nevertheless saying that, in the deal, Republicans "gave up core values."

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio — who, like Paul, many suspect is planning to run for president in 2016 — also announced his opposition to the Ryan-Murray plan. “We need a government with less debt and an economy with more good-paying jobs, and this budget fails to accomplish both goals, making it harder for more Americans to achieve the American dream," Rubio said in a statement. “Instead, this budget continues Washington’s irresponsible budgeting decisions by spending more money than the government takes in and placing additional financial burdens on everyday Americans."

Judging by the response of the grass roots, and those with their finger on the grass roots' pulse, when Paul Ryan tries to rally Republicans in support of the deal, he'll have his work cut out for him.

By Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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