House Speaker John Boehner is not sorry about his criticism of outside conservative groups.
“Yesterday, when the criticism was coming, frankly I thought it was my job and my obligation to stand up for conservatives here in the Congress who want more deficit reduction, to stand up for the work that Chairman Ryan did,” he told reporters Thursday at a press conference dominated by questions about his dismissal of outside organizations like the Heritage Foundation and the Club for Growth.
"Frankly, I just think that they have lost all credibility,” he added.
Asked if he is effectively asking these organizations to stand down, Boehner offered this flat response: “I don’t care what they do.”
Boehner made headlines Wednesday when he derided outside groups for opposing the bipartisan budget agreement that leaders of both chambers hope to pass in order to draw down some sequestration-related spending cuts and head off future government shutdowns.
Those groups fired back, saying the deal would “increase the size of government” and hurt the nation’s growth.
But on Thursday, Boehner doubled down, describing a pattern of shortsighted positions held by influential conservative groups.
And he alluded to a statement by the head of Heritage Action, who admitted in a television interview that full repeal of Obamacare would not be possible until after the 2016 election.
“Are you kidding me?” Boehner exclaimed.
The House is set to take up the budget bill on Thursday evening.
Republican aides believe that a majority of the conference will support the bill. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said earlier Thursday that – even though many Democrats are upset that the agreement does not include an extension of unemployment insurance for the jobless – her members won’t let the bill fail.
“I don’t think our members will let this bill go down,” she said, adding that while she does not like the legislation, “it’s an okay thing to vote for.”
First published December 12 2013, 9:13 AM