A fascinating turn of events in Congress, as NBC News reports:
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, lashed out at conservative advocacy groups that have encouraged GOP lawmakers to oppose a budget framework unveiled last night by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.
"They're using our members and they're using the American people for their own goals," an animated Boehner told reporters at the Capitol. "This is ridiculous."
Ryan and Murray, the top budget officials in their respective chambers, announced an agreement that would set baseline spending levels for the 2014 and 2015 fiscal years. The agreement calls for spending levels slightly above the cap established by the automatic spending cuts known as the "sequester" through a combination of reforms, cuts and new, non-tax revenue.
Conservative groups had been girding themselves against the deal before its details were finalized, mostly because the spending levels exceed sequester levels. The Club for Growth, Americans for Prosperity and Heritage Action — each of them well-financed conservative advocacy groups that hold some sway over Republican primary voters — have begun lobbying furiously against the modest government funding agreement…
…The Republican leadership's struggle to manage its restive conservative flank is a familiar storyline to any observer of Congress over the past three years. Boehner's decision to side with conservatives and drive a hard bargain over government spending and the Affordable Care Act contributed in large part to the government shutdown in October that nearly threatened default on the national debt.
If conservatives balk at supporting the legislation, Boehner would need to turn to Democrats to help advance the package through the House. The speaker did just that in passing legislation to end the government shutdown earlier this year.
It's no secret that the right wing of the Republican Party, energized by the Tea Party's emergence in 2009, has been slowly but surely dragging down the GOP into depths that leave moderate voters shaking their heads. While many Republican leaders have been wringing their hands about how to distance themselves from the right wing while maintaining their support come election time, Boehner's outspokenness is the most visible example yet of the growing frustration in the GOP.