DENVER – Conservative groups have reacted angrily to news that Congressional budget negotiators are close to reaching bipartisan, bicameral agreement on a spending plan that would roll back modest spending reductions agreed to last year, further increase the national debt, and raise discretionary spending levels above $1 trillion.
“The bottom line, from our standpoint, is that any ‘deal’ that exceeds the spending limits promised in the Budget Control Act, or reverses the sequestration cuts, is a ‘raw deal’ for taxpayers,” said Americans for Prosperity Colorado State Director Dustin Zvonek. “Uncle Sam still has a Santa Claus-size belt that needs tightening, and now is not the time to reverse ground or surrender to insatiable spending interests.”
Details of the plan remain unclear, but reports suggest the much-hyped accord would do little to rein in the growth of entitlement spending.
The deal reportedly “would not significantly reduce the debt, now $17.3 trillion and rising. It would not close corporate tax loopholes or reform expensive health-care and retirement programs,” wrote Lori Montgomery in recent report for the Washington Post.
“[T]he emerging agreement amounts to little more than a cease-fire,” Montgomery added. “Republicans and Democrats are abandoning their debt-reduction goals, laying down arms and, for the moment, trying to avoid another economy-damaging standoff.”
The deal would revisit the Budget Control Act, which mandated modest reductions in discretionary spending. And that doesn’t sit well with Zvonek.
“[The Budget Control Act] was more than just a deal – it was a firm promise to the American people in response to their demands for fiscal responsibility,” said Zvonek. “Not surprisingly, indicators coming from Washington suggest another backroom deal is in the works that would lead to Congress breaking yet another promise.”
“This is why we’re at $17 trillion,” Zvonek added – a reference to the nation’s ballooning public debt.
AFP isn’t the only conservative group expressing their discontent with reports that the agreement, negotiated by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), may trade additional spending today for soft commitments to trim spending tomorrow.
“Heritage Action cannot support a budget deal that would increase spending in the near-term for promises of woefully inadequate long-term reductions,” the group said in a Monday press release.
“[A] gimmicky, spend-now-cut-later deal will take our nation in the wrong direction,” the statement added.
U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) also criticized the deal, invoking the character J. Wellington Wimpy from the classic Popeye cartoon in a statement.
“There is a recurring theme in Washington budget negotiations,” Paul told The Daily Caller. “It’s ‘I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.’ I think it’s a huge mistake to trade sequester cuts now, for the promise of cuts later.”
Media reports indicated that negotiators met over the weekend to finalize details of the agreement, which is expected to become public this week.