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Conservatives direct ire at GOP leaders — not Trump

Conservatives direct ire at GOP leaders — not Trump

Conservatives are blasting the fiscal deal brokered by President Trump and Democratic leaders, but are blaming GOP leaders in Congress more than the White House.

Trump shocked most of Washington by agreeing to the deal with Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP lawmaker: Dems not standing for Trump is 'un-American' Trump called for unity — he didn’t even last a week Overnight Defense: GOP plays hardball by attaching defense funding to CR | US reportedly drawing down in Iraq | Russia, US meet arms treaty deadline | Why the military wants 6B from Congress MORE (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiGOP lawmaker: Dems not standing for Trump is 'un-American' Rep. Gutiérrez: 'Complete betrayal' if Pelosi backs budget caps deal without DACA Senate leaders say they're zeroing in on two-year budget deal MORE (D-Calif.); it was similar to a proposal Democrats had offered earlier on Wednesday that Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcConnell: 'Whoever gets to 60 wins' on immigration Overnight Defense: Latest on spending fight - House passes stopgap with defense money while Senate nears two-year budget deal | Pentagon planning military parade for Trump | Afghan war will cost B in 2018 House passes stopgap spending measure with defense money MORE (R-Wis.) called “ridiculous.”

The agreement would fund the government and raise the debt ceiling through Dec. 8, tying that legislation to aid for communities hit by Hurricane Harvey.

Congress is expected to approve the package on Thursday, though there could be many GOP defections.

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“While some have advocated for a ‘clean’ debt limit increase, this would simply increase the borrowing authority of the government while irresponsibly ignoring the urgency of reforms,” Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, wrote in a letter to Ryan.

Walker’s missive didn’t mention Trump.

In a phone call following the deal’s announcement, Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin said the deal was “a fool’s play, a trap, and Republicans should reject it out of hand.”

Senate Conservatives Fund President Ken Cuccinelli went a step further.

“[Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDems confront Kelly after he calls some immigrants 'lazy' McConnell: 'Whoever gets to 60 wins' on immigration Overnight Defense: Latest on spending fight - House passes stopgap with defense money while Senate nears two-year budget deal | Pentagon planning military parade for Trump | Afghan war will cost B in 2018 MORE must be replaced, the Senate leadership must be replaced, and the same goes for the House,” he said following announcement of the Trump deal, a statement that was further endorsed by ForAmerica President David Bozell.

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsHouse passes stopgap spending measure with defense money Senate leaders say they're zeroing in on two-year budget deal Republican agenda clouded by division MORE (R-N.C.) also directed blame at Congress, not Trump.

“Let’s be clear, there are separate branches,” he said.

“Even though the president made a deal yesterday, we agreed to it,” he added, referring to his party’s leadership in Congress.

Ryan and McConnell (R-Ky.) have made it crystal clear that they did not agree with the deal, though they are going along with it.

The Speaker, after breathing a sigh, said Thursday that Trump wanted to avoid “a food fight” and ensure that aid was delivered quickly to communities affected by Harvey.

McConnell, asked Wednesday if he was surprised that the president “sided with Democrats,” downplayed any signs of Republican division.

“[The president’s] feeling was that we needed to come together, to not create a picture of divisiveness at a time of genuine national crisis,” he said.

It’s possible Republican lawmakers are aiming their ire away from Trump because they don’t want to become the president’s targets on Twitter.

Yet conservative anger with their congressional leadership is nothing new.

The right has blamed McConnell for the Senate’s failure to repeal ObamaCare and were angered that leadership had wanted to pass a longer-term debt lift with the disaster relief bill, an option Ryan and McConnell hoped would take the thorny, must-pass item off their agenda until after the 2018 midterm elections.

With Republicans controlling the White House and both chambers of Congress, Ryan and McConnell are clear targets for anti-establishment voters who still hope to “drain the swamp” of the political establishment in Washington.

Not every conservative was so sanguine about Trump’s cross-aisle deal-cutting.

“When Beohner [sic] cut a deal with Obama on the debt ceiling, conservatives tossed him. Trump cut one with Pelosi and it’s Paul Ryan’s fault? WTF?,” tweeted conservative commentator Erick Erikson, referring to former Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerLobbying World Freedom Caucus wants budget reforms attached to debt limit increase Trey Gowdy announces retirement from Congress MORE (R-Ohio).

Rep. Mark SanfordMarshall (Mark) Clement SanfordHouse Republicans' bill would redirect Pakistan aid money to US infrastructure Lawmakers left with more questions than answers on Trump infrastructure plan GOP lawmakers say Trump would make mistake in firing Rosenstein MORE (R-S.C.), a member of the Freedom Caucus, insinuated that Trump does not have a consistent worldview, conservative or otherwise.

“I’d say that it’s a reminder of how important governing philosophy is,” Sanford said of the deal.

But it’s unclear how much leeway Trump will have with conservatives if he continues defying their wishes. 

Heritage Action, a conservative political group, came out in strong opposition to the plan, urging members of Congress to vote against what they dubbed “The Pelosi-Schumer-Trump Debt Ceiling Deal.”

But even their release pulled its punches, laying the blame with “the Trump administration” and not the president himself.