Conservative radio host Mark Levin gave Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) an earful over the budget agreement on his show Tuesday night in an indicator of the tough sell Ryan has to make to the right.
Levin criticized the $23 billion in deficit reduction in the deal as not cutting enough.
Ryan defended the deal by saying Republican concerns about military cuts in the sequester prevented him from holding out for a better deal.
“The point I’m trying to make, Mark, is too many of our members do not support sticking with the sequester because of concerns about the military,” Ryan said.
“And what I do not want to see is a situation where we have Republicans so worked up about the sequester that they’re willing to take spending increases without offsets or even tax increases. I want to prevent that from happening. This agreement prevents that from happening.”
He returned to the 2012 election, where he lost on the ticket with Mitt Romney. “Hey, Mark, elections have consequences,” Ryan said. “If we would have won the election, we would have put in place our budget.”
Levin was not appeased by Ryan's point that the agreement also prevents a government shutdown.
“You guys are really worked up about that,” Levin said. “Lots of us don’t really care about that.”
Levin continually emphasized that the deal is too small. “This seems to me, that we’re on the fiscal ship Titanic, and we’re debating what's going on over at the water cooler on the back,” he said.
Ryan responded that he had to do what was possible with Democrats in control of the White House and the Senate.
“Yeah, I think that’s right,” Ryan said. “That’s why I’m not trying to oversell this. I don’t think with this president, we are going to fix our fiscal mess.”