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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Right wing to GOP: OK to shut down government again

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

The rabid right wing of the Republican Party may have taken a beating in state elections Tuesday but that hasn’t stopped them from stepping up the pressure on pliable Republican lawmakers and demanding a hardcore positions on any budget deals.

Conservative groups are telling Republicans to “stand firm” with steadfast opposition to tax increases or easing of any automatic spending cuts in sequestration.

If Republicans listen to the right-wingers that led to humiliation and defeat in elections it could easily lead to a repeat of the budget standoff that led to a 16-day government shutdown in October.

Which may be what organizations like the Club for Grown, FreedomWorks and Heritage Action for America want.  The didn’t want the compromise that ended the shudown and avoided a default on government debt in October and they would like to see a repeat because they believe such action would lead to weakening — and perhaps even elimination of President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare “reform” law that is better known as “”Obamacare.”

The October deal that ended the government shutdown and avoided default also created a 29-member “budget negotiating committee” of Democrats and Republicans from the Senate and House.
The panel is looking at ways to relieve the effects of automatic spending cuts, known as the “sequester,” imposed on military and other government programs starting last year and continuing through 2021.

That doesn’t sit well with the right wing, which believes keeping the sequester is their only real thing that has been accomplished from their point of view in the messy budget process.

“Yes, we’re worried,” Andrew Roth, vice president of government affairs at the Club for Growth, tells Reuters. “We’re always worried when they go behind closed doors and try and hatch something.”

“To us a bad deal is a deal that increases spending or taxes,” added Dean Clancy, vice president of public policy at FreedomWorks.

Higher tax revenue is a key demand of Democrats on the panel, but most Republicans on the budget panel say “no way.” Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, and the lead Republican “negotiator” is following tea party instructions and ruling out any tax revenue increase.

Compromise is a dirty word to the tea party-controlled lobbying groups

Clancy, for example, finds it “troubling” that Tom Cole, a Republican House member on the panel, told Bloomberg Television last month he might be open to raising some revenue.

“Mr. Cole’s comments alarmed us because if he were to join with the House Democrats, they would have a majority for tax hikes,” Clancy says.

The disagreement between Democrats and Republicans over taxes is a huge stumbling block to any broader deal and could even stymie a smaller agreement.

Democrats wabt to ease the impact of the across-the-board spending cuts that have forced cuts in programs ranging from early childhood education to food-safety inspections to scientific research to the military.

Republicans demand reductions in entitlements such as the Social Security retirement program and the Medicare health program for older Americans. Democrats say they would only support such cuts if they were accompanied by revenue increases.

“Expectations for the committee are extremely low,” says Dan Holler, spokesman for Heritage Action, the political arm of the right-wing Heritage Foundation.

“The grassroots feels they have been cheated and betrayed by Republican leaders ran on promises to cut spending and stop Obamacare but filed to keep those promise.  Perhaps they are unwilling to,” Clancy says. “Our expectations are low and pessimistic and that’s why I say for us, no deal is better than a bad deal.”

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