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Conservatives Blame GOP Leaders For Budget Deal

| by Robert Fowler
The House Speaker, GOP Rep. Paul Ryan of WisconsinThe House Speaker, GOP Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin

Several prominent conservatives, following a budget agreement that was widely perceived as a win for Democrats, have placed the blame largely on GOP leaders in Congress instead of President Donald Trump, who had personally struck the deal.

On Sept. 6, Trump held a meeting with congressional leaders to negotiate a budget deal amid concerns of a government shutdown. The president swiftly agreed with Democrats' proposal to tie a spending bill that would fund the government until December and a vote to raise the debt ceiling for a disaster relief package for the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

The Senate Majority Leader, GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, and the House Speaker, GOP Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, were reportedly stunned that Trump would agree to the deal without asking for any strings attached. Earlier that day, Ryan had called the Democrats' proposal "ridiculous and disgraceful."

Later that day, the House passed a Hurricane Harvey relief package. The government funding bill and the debt limit increase will be attached to the relief package in the Senate.

On Sept. 7, Ryan disclosed that he had wanted the debt limit to be extended for a longer duration but supported Trump's decision in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

"What the president didn't want to do is have some partisan fight in the middle of the response to this," Ryan told The New York Times. "He wanted to make sure we had a bipartisan moment."

Republican lawmakers voiced outrage over the deal, asserting that raising the debt limit without any reforms amounted to irresponsible government spending. Several prominent conservatives directed their anger at McConnell and Ryan.

"Mitch McConnell must be replaced, the Senate leadership must be replaced, and the same goes for the House," Senate Conservatives Fund President Ken Cuccinelli said in a statement, according to The Hill.

David Bozell, president of the conservative ForAmerica group, endorsed Cuccinelli's statement.

GOP Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, faulted McConnell and Ryan for not dissuading Trump from the deal.

"Even though the president made a deal yesterday, we agreed to it," Meadows said.  

Meanwhile, FreedomWorks president Adam Brandon released a statement that directly blasted Trump for the budget deal.

"This is straight out of the swamp and I call on President Trump to say something publicly about how this is a swamp deal and will not be tolerated," Brandon said.

Meanwhile, Trump was reportedly audibly pleased with his decision during subsequent phone calls with the Senate Minority Leader, GOP Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, and the House Minority Leader, Democratic Nancy Pelosi of California.

"He seemed super upbeat," a source familiar with the phone calls told Politico.

Another source alleged that Trump had told Pelosi, "The press has been incredible."

Sources: The Hill, The New York Times (2), Politico / Featured Image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr / Embedded Images: Gage Skidmore/Flickr (2)

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