At The Weekly Standard, Fred Barnes writes of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's (R-WI) recent budget deal: "Now that [the sequester's] caps have been breached once, they’re bound to be tossed aside again. And the greatest tool for curbing the growth of government in the lifetime of most Americans will be lost."
Barnes is dead right. Ryan can claim that his deal with Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA) preserved most of the sequester. But once those first two years were breached, the odds that all the other years will also be rescinded, skyrocketed. The sequester may not be completely dead, but as Barnes said, "it’s a wounded warrior."
Liberals are beside themselves with glee. And not just because Ryan mortally wounded the best weapon conservatives had for limited government. They believe Ryan will go to bat for liberals again soon. The Week's Bill Scher explains:
This week’s deal is another signal that congressional leaders are ready to close the curtains on the budget kabuki and bring immigration back to center stage. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), who negotiated the budget deal, already has made clear his support for reform that includes a pathway to citizenship, and has an interest in lowering the political temperature through this agreement. In turn, his negotiating partner Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) made sure to point out that the reduced tensions should help get immigration done.
Conservatives should definitely be wary of what Ryan and Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) are planning next. But color me skeptical about Republicans pushing amnesty next year.
Ryan's big selling point for his budget deal was that it would avoid another shutdown so Republicans could keep the focus on Obamacare. Here is what he told CNN:
I think there are a lot of people who would like the distraction of a government shutdown for one reason or the other. The administration is not really high on the Obamacare focus that is occurring in this country.
The only thing Obama and the Democrats would love more than a replay of October's government shutdown, is a bloody, brutal Republican civil war over amnesty. That would be a huge distraction from Obamacare that the Washington media would happily promote.
Why would Ryan and Boehner instigate a painful, no-win sideshow over amnesty, when the whole point of sacrificing the sequester was to keep the focus on Obamacare?
They wouldn't gut the sequester for no reason and then change the subject to an issue Obama is dying to have center stage?