Did Paul Ryan sell out conservatives by agreeing to a compromise budget deal with ultra-liberal Patty Murray? I wouldn’t go that far. In my view, reasonable conservatives can disagree on the overall merit of the deal. I tend to agree with John’s negative assessment, but that doesn’t make the deal a sellout.
It seems clear, however, that Ryan did sell out Senate Republicans. Jonathan Strong reports:
Senate Republicans scrubbing the Ryan-Murray budget deal have come across a little-noticed provision that will limit the GOP’s ability to block tax increases in future years.
The bill includes language from the Senate Democrats’ budget to void a budget “point of order” against replacing the sequester cuts with tax increases.
The process is quite complicated, but in practice it grants Harry Reid the authority to send tax increases to the House with a bare majority, rather than the 60 vote threshold that would be required under the point of order.
The provision has angered key Republican Senators. Reeling from Harry Reid’s unprecedented use of the “nuclear option” to end the filibuster on presidential nominations, they are incredulous that Paul Ryan would have backed another limit to their power.
“This is an appalling power grab that should never have been allowed to be in a final agreement. It’s essentially the ‘nuclear option’ part two, eroding minority rights in the Senate even further. Harry Reid must be very happy,” a Senate GOP aide says.
A House aide counters that Reid can send the House all the tax increases he wants, “House Republicans would never approve a tax increase.”
But House Republicans approved a tax increase a little less than a year ago. Moreover, no one knows whether Republicans will control the House in upcoming years.
Even those who favor Ryan’s deal tend to limit their praise to asserting that the deal is marginally better than the presumed alternatives. No one, not even Ryan, claims that it meaningfully addresses the debt crisis.
Given the faint nature of the praise for this deal, Senate Republicans should insist that the Harry Reid-empowering provision be eliminated before they even consider the merits of the rest of the package.