Though the eleventh-hour budget deal brokered after days of intensive negotiations was widely seen as a win for Republicans,Â Tea Party activists and the lawmakers aligned with them are divided over whether to support it.
Conservatives for months have been pushing for $61 billion in cuts. What they got was $38.5 billion, as well as a handful of policy riders and other sweeteners. While Democrats met Republicans more than halfway on that deal, some prominent conservative groups and lawmakers say they’re still not happy.
“I thinkÂ John Boehner got a good deal, but it’s probably not good enough for me to support it,” Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., said in an interview Sunday.
Pence, who increasingly has aligned himself with the Tea Party movement, staked out a nuanced position. He credited theÂ House speaker for taking on theÂ White House and Senate Majority LeaderÂ Harry Reid in head-to-head negotiations, but, while he supported a bridge bill to keep the government running through Thursday, claimed he would vote against the final package.
Others have been less equivocal.
“In the seven days preceding last night’s deal, ourÂ nation’s debt increased by $54.1 billion. And now our ‘leaders’ are touting as ‘historic’ the $38.5 billion in spending cuts for the rest of fiscal year 2011,” Tea Party Patriots co-founder Mark Meckler said in a written statement Saturday. “Leadership requires bold, visionary action in times of crisis. Are we getting bold, visionary leadership in Washington, D.C.? We think the numbers speak for themselves.”
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, voted against the bridge bill and said he could not back the final budget deal either.
“I can’t support this,” Chaffetz told Fox BusinessÂ Network shortly after the deal was announced. “We have a multitrillion-dollar problem here. And I feel disappointed we came up a little bit short.”
Rep.Â Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., also voted against the bridge bill, saying members of Congress have “been asked to settle for $39 billion in cuts, even as we continue to fundÂ Planned Parenthood and the implementation of ObamaCare.”
TheÂ roll call on the stopgap bill, though, suggests conservative discontent will not unravel the hard-fought deal. That bill passed overwhelmingly on a 348-70 vote early Saturday morning, with far more Democrats opposing the bill than Republicans.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., who spoke alongside Pence on ABC’s “This Week,” predicted the budget bill funding the government for the rest of the year would pass when it comes to the floor later in the week.
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