GOP's Huelskamp on Budget Deal: 'More Spending'

By Susan Jones | December 11, 2013 | 6:34am EST

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) (AP photo)

( - Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) said the budget deal reached Tuesday by Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray "doesn't get to the heart of the problem, which is spending."

He said he will not support the budget, based on what he's heard so far.

"There's no way around it. It's more spending for both sides. And for far too long, most conservatives would agree that's the problem in Washington. I don't know how a deal is good for conservatives if spending is going to go up."

Huelskamp pointed to the sequester, which imposed mandatory "hard caps" on spending. "And what they're trying to do is blow through these caps," Huelskamp said.

"In a way, I'm surprised leadership would even be offering this -- because we've talked about this again and again, about long-term solutions. So Paul Ryan's been very clear about that. We need not just short-term ideas; we need long-term solutions."

Huelskamp wouldn't say that Ryan sold out Republicans."But at the end of the day, spending is going up. Republicans and conservatives in particular have said for years we've been spending too much money, and the bipartisan agreement -- bipartisan usually scares us. That means more spending at the end of the day."

Huelskamp also criticized House Speaker John Boehner: "I think we've always settled for less than we can get with this leadership. At the end of the day, the American people want better than this. And they're going to say, this is what you did? This is considered a great, grand bipartisan deal?"

He said Republican leaders haven't yet asked the rank-and-file where they stand on a budget deal: "We've been out of town for the weekend. And all of a sudden, they have this deal."

Americans for Prosperity, a limited government/free market advocacy group, called the budget deal "bad policy" and "bad politics."

“The American people remember hard-won bipartisan spending limits set by the sequester, and are not pleased to see their conservative representatives so easily go back on their word to rein in government over-spending," said AFP President Tim Phillips.

“Spending levels were set by law at $967 billion. Exceeding those levels by $45 billion takes us in the wrong direction; further from fiscal responsibility, and further from the promise made to the American people.

“It is disappointing to see Chairman Ryan forget lessons learned this past spring, when House Republicans united to win reasonable spending limits in the face of President Obama’s hysterical predictions that even modest cuts would harm our nation.”

But House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), echoing Paul Ryan, called the budget deal "a step in the right direction on the path toward economic security for hardworking Americans. While this deal includes modest budgetary reforms, it is another positive sign that deficit reduction can be achieved by making real spending cuts and reforms without raising taxes."

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) also said the deal was "modest in scale," but he, too, called it a "positive step forward."

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