Speaker John Boehner can likely hold the Republican Party together long enough to get this budget deal through, but how much longer after that?
The Republican Party civil war has lain dormant for a little while as Tea Partiers and mainstreamers took a break from their bickering to revel in the failure of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) rollout. Now that Obamacare is back on track (albeit with some issues) and that Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) have hashed out a modest deal to avert another government shutdown, the same split in the Republican Party that caused the government shutdown is reemerging.
The Republican Party divide is partly based on policy, but is maybe more centered around process. Simply put, the Tea Party wing cannot abide any sort of compromise (which is how we got “defund Obamacare or we shut this whole thing down”) and the more mainstream Republicans tend to be okay with making deals, at least in concept.
This budget deal, while no grand bargain, is a compromise. So, of course, the Tea Party hated it.
“Republicans said they wanted to reduce spending; this bill does exactly the opposite,” said Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan) of the Tea Party caucus. “I don’t think it’s a good deal.”
Far right Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) also opposed the deal, and invoked Popeye to explain his objection to a “recurring them” in budget deals: “It’s ‘I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.’”
Tea Party groups Club for Growth, Americans for Prosperity and Heritage Action for America (all of whom receive a lot of money from the Koch brothers) all oppose the budget deal.
Republican leadership knows that they can’t be blamed for another government shutdown, so they have been pushing hard for the bill.
“This is ridiculous. If you’re for more deficit reduction, you’re for this agreement,” said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), referring to conservative groups’ opposition to the bill.