House Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) says conservative Americans lost bigly with the budget deal reached last week because Republican lawmakers caved to establishment pressure in Washington.
“Our leadership caved. The swamp won and the American taxpayer lost,” Meadows said during a weekend appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
As Tribune News Service reported Monday, the budget is a government big spender’s dream come true:
The budget calls for about $716 billion in annual defense spending, more than $100 billion above the level Trump requested last year. Add in the tax cut Republicans pushed through in December and the extra spending Congress approved just last week, and the result is a flood of red ink projected to send the national debt ever higher.
Trump’s budget anticipates deficits throughout the next 10 years even if Congress were to approve some $3 trillion in cuts over that same time period that he’s proposing for a wide range of federal programs. Both parties already rejected most of those cuts last year and have shown little interest in pursuing them.
The White House maintains that the increased spending will be offset by increased economic growth. But, for conservatives like Meadows, that doesn’t do much to relieve the sting of a new budget that doesn’t even try to balance on paper coming from a GOP controlled Washington.
Meadows isn’t alone. Last week, Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul was criticized by establishment politicians on both sides of the aisle for holding up the budget approval process in an attempt to highlight the massive GOP hypocrisy at play.
“There’s a huge hypocrisy factor,” Paul told CNN. “Republicans lambasted President Obama to no end for trillion-dollar deficits and now they have put forward a trillion-dollar deficit.”
“I think the American people are going to be surprised, upset, hurt that so the so-called conservatives got elected and then turned out to be not much different than the people they were criticizing,” Paul added.
What remains to be seen is whether the small government conservatives leftover from the Tea Party revolution still have the influence to get anything done in Trump’s America.