Conservatives Decry Shutdown Deal as National Debt Nears $17 Trillion

By Ali Meyer | October 17, 2013 | 1:25 PM EDT

(AP Photo)

( -- While congressional Democrats celebrate the passage of legislation to end the government shutdown, conservatives are expressing concern for America’s long-term economic health, noting that the national debt is nearly $17 trillion and that the federal government continues to deficit-spend about $1 trillion more than it takes in in tax revenue.

Legislation to end the shutdown, a continuing resolution,  was passed  on Wednesday evening. In the Senate, 18 Republicans voted against the measure and, in the House, 144 Republicans said no as well. It passed in the House and Senate with the full backing of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who opposed the continuing resolution, said,  “Tonight, a deal was struck to re-open the government and avoid the debt ceiling deadline. That is a good thing. However our country faces a problem bigger than any deadline: a $17 trillion debt. I am disappointed that Democrats would not compromise to avoid the looming debt debacle.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) echoed that statement saying, “This debate has never been about whether to have an open federal government, but about whether we are going to fix it so that it stops spending more money than it takes in. To save the American Dream, we need decisive action to create millions of middle class jobs and stop Washington politicians from wasting taxpayers’ money on a government we can’t afford.”

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, left, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, during a news conference with conservative congressional Republicans at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) took to Twitter with a response to the deal saying, “Joined 143 of my Republican colleagues voting no on this political deal. Need real compromise to cut debt, not increase it by hundreds of billions.”

This year has set a record for the most money the government has ever taken in, with federal revenue expected to top $2.7 trillion at the end of this year. Yet, our nation’s debt is $16,747,370,534,090 and the passed legislation won’t prevent it from rising more.

“Almost everyone but the president seems to recognize that this law is going to be terrible for the American people, said Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) in a personal email to constituents. “It’s costing jobs. It’s hurting families. It’s making people’s health care situation worse, and it won’t solve the problems in our broken health care system.”

Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) reflected that statement saying, “The reason we’re here is he’s [Obama] not been willing to talk to us for the last three years. The only time the president talks to us is when we get in these crises.”

While congressmen express their concern, some conservative grassroots organizations are staying upbeat despite their disappointment with the budget deal.

Tea partiers have been very vocal about their opposition to this bill, urging lawmakers to reject it. Co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, Jenny Beth Martin, said, “This is not all for naught. Fighting for freedom is always the right thing to do. We will take the energy and passion and put it into watching what the House does with amnesty legislation, and then into actions for next year that will involve elections. We will keep fighting. We’re not going away.”

Family Research Council’s President Tony Perkins said, “We will continue to fight for the freedoms of Americans, rather than protect the Washington establishment as Congress takes up future spending bills.”

Former Attorney Gen. Ed Meese, the Ronald Reagan distinguished fellow in public policy at the Heritage Foundation. (Photo:  Heritage Foundation)

The group ForAmerica, in a blog post signed by former Attorney General Ed Meese, Eagle Forum President Phyllis Schlafly, Citizens United President David Bossie, and ForAmerica Chairman Brent Bozell, among other conservative leaders, said, “The latest deal offers no meaningful relief from Obamacare. No defunding of the law, no delay of the law or even the individual mandate, no protection of conscience or an end to abortion subsidies. No elimination of the unlawful exchange subsidies for members of Congress and their staffs.”

“So while Washington is taking care of politically connected special interests, Americans around the country will continue to be exposed to the harmful effects of Obamacare,” said ForAmerica.  “Make no mistake, a vote for a deal like this is a vote to move forward with Obamacare.”

Americans for Prosperity, a grassroots organization that focuses on mobilizing citizens in the public policy process, said on its website, “Now that Obamacare is about to take effect, it seems like Congress and all of President Obama’s friends are receiving exemptions.”

(Disclosure: Brent Bozell is the president of the Media Research Center, the parent organization of