Republican Senators Weigh In on Ryan-Murray

Despite receiving a large majority in the House, the Ryan-Murray budget deal continues to receive poor marks from Republican senators, including from some senators known for their desire to strike bipartisan fiscal deals in the past.

Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee said he was “definitely” voting against the deal on the merits, and hadn’t decided whether to vote for cloture to stop debate.

Asked why he opposed the deal, Corker said “busting the caps $45 billion in the first year would be a starting point. We haven’t addressed the real mandatory reforms that need to be addressed that we’ve been pushing for now for a long, long time. I’m already hearing people pushing against the military retirement piece, so even if it’s part of this, people will try to undo that down the road.”

Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho said that while there are some “positive things” about the deal, including that it prevents a government shutdown, it fits into the same old pattern of the federal government spending big today and promising to cut tomorrow.

“The agreement, as I see it, essentially follows the same pattern that got us in to this trouble. Which is that we have increased spending in the early years, it’s offset in the out years — which Congress has a perfect record of not getting to. I know they argue there’s no tax increases in it but I see “fee” increases as the same as tax increases. For all those reasons I’ve decided to vote no,” Crapo said.

Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the third-ranking member of GOP leadership, said he was voting against cloture for the budget deal, as did Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

“I’m not voting for it. Come to my press conference tomorrow morning and I’ll show you $30 billion in waste we can get rid of just this year,” said Senator Tom Coburn.

Despite the criticisms, the bill looks like it will safely clear the 60-vote cloture hurdle, with a small but important number of Republicans backing it.

“I think that we support people who make tough decisions. I have my criticisms of that, on the other hand I understand why it was done the way it was done, and I think we should be somewhat grateful for Paul Ryan and his Democratic counterpart,” said Senator Orin Hatch of Utah.

Voting for cloture is “the right thing to do for the country,” said Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, who added he had a pleasant conversation with Ryan about deer hunting over the weekend.

Senators James Inhofe of Oklahoma and Chuck Grassley of Iowa said they were probably voting against cloture.

Senator John Boozeman of Arkansas said “I’m concerned about busting the budget caps.”

Senators John Barasso of Wyoming, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Thad Cochran of Mississippi declined to say how they would be voting.  

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