12 Senate GOPs Help Ryan-Murray Budget Head Toward Passage
Graham proved particularly incensed, maintaining that the measure ultimately is likely to succeed because “everybody’s hellbent to get out of town and not shut down the government” even though it’s possible to achieve both before Jan. 15 – the day the current stopgap funding measure expires.
“Of all the people we could have picked on to screw, how could we arrive here?” Graham asked. “How could we have done this? I’ll tell you how it happens -- you get in a hurry and we’re insensitive as a Congress and, quite frankly, as a country.”
Graham vowed that the military retirement cuts will be restored at some point.
“Not only are we going to right this wrong, we’re going to remind people who you are,” he told retired military personnel at a Tuesday press conference. “And any politician who wants to do this again is gonna get the hell kicked out of him.”
But Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), one of the 12 GOP lawmakers who supported cloture, said that while the measure doesn’t address every issue he had hoped for, “sometimes the answer has to be yes.”
“The reality is that Republicans only control one-half of one-third of government,” Hatch said. “Ultimately, this agreement upholds the principles conservatives stand for and, with Democrats controlling the White House and the Senate, it is the best we could hope for. I know that crafting this budget was hard fought and it’s built on the necessary consensus that reflects divided government.”
Hatch noted the agreement reduces the nation’s debt over the long-term, prevents another government shutdown and “stops the budget battles that have rocked America with economic uncertainty and political pessimism.”
“Much more work needs to be done to address the number one drivers of our country’s debt – our entitlement programs,” Hatch said. “But my hope is that this budget agreement paves the way to greater stability, lasting deficit reduction and the political will to tackle those challenges in the near future.”
The compromise increases spending for the current 2014 fiscal year from $967 billion to $1.012 trillion, with an additional increase to $1.014 trillion in 2015 without a direct tax increase. The spending increases, which particularly benefit defense programs, are offset by increasing the amount federal workers contribute to their retirement plans, adding a fee to airline tickets to help pay for security and the military retirement provision.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that although a budget revised along the lines of the agreement “doesn’t solve every budget problem facing DoD, it will help address our military readiness challenge by restoring funding for training and procurement – especially in fiscal year 2014.”
Conservative groups, like FreedomWorks, were unanimous in their opposition.
“This deal is the ‘same old same old’ that Americans have come to expect from Washington,” the Club for Growth said in a statement. “It's a deliberate attempt to avoid modest but much needed spending cuts in exchange for the promise of spending cuts in the future. It also includes revenue increases that do nothing to reduce the size of government. Worse, this deal is likely only the first attempt at undoing the sequester completely.”
A final vote could come as early as Wednesday.