House Speaker John Boehner continued his anti-Tea Party press tour on Thursday. "I don't care what they do," Boehner said of conservative outside groups criticizing the new budget deal. He added: “When you criticize something and you have no idea what you’re criticizing, you’ve lost your credibility." This is the same man who, in the midst of a conservative Republican-led government shutdown last fall, backed a conservative "epic battle" against the vast majority of legislators.
On Wednesday, the Republican leader called a series of conservative protests over the sequester relief included in the Ryan-Murray budget deal "ridiculous," and said that "[Conservative groups are] using our members and they're using the American people for their own goals." Despite, among other things, an appeal to conservatives by Rep. Paul Ryan on the pages of the National Review, conservative groups like The Club for Growth, Americans for Prosperity and Heritage Action have all lobbied against the bipartisan compromise budget, in part because of the partial relief it provides to deep sequester cuts to federal programs.
Tim Phillips of Americans for Prosperity blasted the deal, arguing that "the American people remember hard-won bipartisan spending limits set by the sequester" (What?) "And are not pleased to see their conservative representatives so easily go back on their word to rein in government over-spending." Heritage Action, meanwhile, announced that it would score House and Senate votes on the deal, which they believe represents a "a step backwards" because it "represents an immediate increase in federal spending." Under the plan, spending levels would rise to slightly above sequester levels. The sequestration, of course, was supposed to be a punitive measure designed to incentives Congress to come up with some sort of budget deal.
Boehner accused those groups of "misleading their followers" on the budget agreement. “I’m as conservative as anybody around this place,” Boehner said on Thursday, urging conservatives who want to see the deficit reduced to support the compromise plan.