In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Conservatives Flip-Flop On Sequester Budget Cuts

Republican-divisions
AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite

In a move that is causing consternation among House Republicans who want a budget deal, Heritage Action, the deep-pocketed activist group, also criticized the emerging budget agreement aimed at mitigating the across-the-board cuts to defense and domestic programs, arguing that the sequester must remain in place.

That's a different tune from 2011, when the influential group not only opposed the Budget Control Act -- the law that raised the debt limit and created the sequester cuts as an incentive to reduce the deficit -- but called on all members of Congress to vote against it.

"The deal relies on an insufficient level of cuts, a 'super committee' tasked with brokering a grand bargain that will lead to massive tax hikes, massive defense cuts, or both," Heritage Action said at the time. "It remains insufficient to the task at hand and the standards which Heritage Action for America has set forth during the course of the debate."

In the House, a letter spearheaded by Republican Reps. Mick Mulvaney (SC), Jim Jordan (OH) and Steve Scalise (LA) -- all three of whom voted against the Budget Control Act in 2011 -- insists the sequester must be continued. The letter to Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor aims to subvert the budget deal being negotiated by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), the budget chiefs.

"The Budget Control Act is the law of the land," the Republican congressmen wrote. "Our Democrat colleagues are now threatening to shut the government down in order to change that. We should not permit that to happen."

They urged Boehner to bring up a stopgap measure to continue funding the government at the sequester level of $967 billion in 2014 when money expires on Jan. 15.