Late Friday night, Congress agreed to a framework to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year. They quickly passed a stopgap measure to keep the government open while they turn the framework into legislative text, which is expected to pass both chambers of Congress.
Since last November’s historic election, conservatives made clear the status quo in Washington is no longer acceptable. Washington “logic” is out; commonsense was in.
More than two months ago, when House leadership announced the intent to cut $32 billion from this year’s budget, conservative lawmakers and activists demanded more. Ultimately, House Republicans produced $61 billion in spending cuts. While they should have done more, it was certainly a step in the right direction and conservatives rallied to their side.
Not surprisingly, President Barack Obama threatened to veto the bill and instead endorsed a bill that cut just a few billion dollars. It was clear President Obama and Senate Democrats – who failed to make the trains run on time when they controlled the entire government – had no interest in enacting real spending cuts. After all, together, they expressed no misgivings as they approved a trillion dollar stimulus and a trillion dollar takeover of our health care system.
Rather than push President Obama and Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) to submit a plan, House Republicans mistakenly took them at their word and passed a stopgap funding measure, allowing for further negotiations. Conservatives made clear that stopgap funding measures were not the answer. It was no way to run a country, and it played into the Democrats overall agenda, which was to prolong the battle and limit the spending cuts Congress could enact.
Once again, conservatives rallied and stood behind Members of Congress who took a principled stand. Even though it marked a turning point in the debate, it was unpopular with many inside Washington at the time. One unnamed GOP leadership aide claimed conservatives “weren’t thinking clearly.” One Congressman vented that it “weakened Boehner.”
Conservatives were not surprised when “conventional wisdom” was rebuked late last week, as the deal secured more cuts than most seasoned Washington observers ever expected. As one publication noted, Speaker “Boehner’s strength as a negotiator is that Democrats believe he’s bound by his caucus.”