Budget plan's $1 trillion deficit sours some Republicans
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans rode the tea party wave to power eight years ago on a message of fiscal responsibility and attacking budget deficits, and kept at it during President Barack Obama's two terms. That was then.
The Republican-led Congress today was rounding up support for a bipartisan budget bill that would put the government on track for annual deficits topping $1 trillion, a gap last seen toward the end of Obama's first term.
The projection for massive budget deficits has split Republicans. Dedicated fiscal conservatives criticized the plan while others accepted it as a necessary compromise to shore up military spending and keep the government running after a short-lived shutdown last month.
"I think the spending in this is reckless and irresponsible," said Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., a conservative who is backed by the tea party.
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said the budget agreement was "doubling down on the irresponsible mentality in Congress of spend now, pay later. To say I am discouraged by the outcome of these negotiations would be an understatement."
Corker voted for the recent Republican tax cut after raising similar concerns in the weeks leading up to the vote.
Republicans are pinning their long-term hopes on their $1.5 trillion tax cut, which they say eventually will stimulate enough economic growth to help reduce the deficit.
GOP leaders were using that argument and a desire to boost military spending to sell the budget plan. Congress needs to approve a spending bill by midnight tonight to avoid a partial government shutdown.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said during a lengthy speech on the Senate floor that it was hypocritical for members of his party to criticize trillion-dollar deficits under Obama, "and now Republicans are doing the same thing."