Conservative Groups Trash Emerging Budget Deal

Republican funding groups urge members to vote 'no' on compromise.

House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., left, and Senate Budget Committee Chair Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., listen to testimony from Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013.
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In Congress, no deal is final until the interest groups weigh in. Tuesday, as budget negotiators Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., outlined the final terms of a small-scale budget compromise, key Republican campaign groups voiced their aversion to the emerging deal.

[READ: Boehner Urges Senate Democrats to Act on Budget Deal]

Murray and Ryan have spent more than a month outlining the framework of a budget deal that would keep the country from falling into another government shutdown Jan. 15, 2014. While the negotiations are ongoing, The Associated Press reported Tuesday the proposal would "restore" $65 million in automatic spending cuts currently in law and increase federal spending from $967 billion next year to roughly $1 trillion.

The rumblings of such a compromise are causing anxiety in Washington as many conservative groups complain the deal violates conservative principles by increasing the federal spending limit set by the Budget Control Act, which was intended to reduce federal spending by about $2 trillion over a 10-year period.

Already, key conservative campaign groups including Americans for Prosperity and Heritage Action for America, the campaign arm of the Heritage Foundation, have come out against the emerging deal.

"The American people demanded, and were promised, reasonable spending limits. Politicians choosing to go back on their promise will be held accountable for their actions," Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips said in a statement Tuesday.

The increasing pressure not to budge was settling into the GOP caucus Tuesday as senators met for lunch. Many argued that while a budget deal would send a strong message to the American people that the unpopular Congress was up and running, others signaled that failing to come to an agreement wouldn't be the end of the world.

"I don't think a deal has to be reached," says Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. "There are a lot of alternatives that can be pursued."

[ALSO: Budget Conference Hobbling Along as Deadline Approaches]

Sessions acknowledges, however that it would "probably be healthy" if the two parties could come to an agreement and fund the government.

Other Republicans including Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who faces a primary challenge in 2014, said he would consider the advice of outside campaign groups, but warned that it was important members of the party look over a final deal before rushing to judge.

"We will have to see the merits of the deal," Graham says. "The fact that groups oppose the deal - ideological groups on the left or right - is something to consider. But we have to fund the government eventually."

Republican Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., alluded to the fact that he is open to compromise on federal spending levels if it means the Defense Department is freed up from some of the automatic budget cuts that have restricted the military's budget.

"I think it is important to see it, but I worry about national security, obviously," McCain says.

 

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