Chad’s Morning Brief: Tea Party/Right Wing Groups Wary of Steve Stockman, Budget Deal Reached, and More
Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of December 11, 2013. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am. Remember, you can listen online at KFYO.com or on your iPhone/Android with the radioPup App.
Congressman Steve Stockman might have been hoping for a flurry of endorsements in his campaign against Senator John Cornyn, but they aren't coming. According to Politico, many are wary of Stockman and just don't have the time to commit resources.
The insurgent conservative groups that have thwarted the GOP establishment in a string of bloody primaries since 2010 appear to be drawing a line for themselves in Texas.
There, bomb-throwing Rep. Steve Stockman filed papers at the last minute Monday to challenge John Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the U.S. Senate. On the surface, the race looks like a classic duel between a powerful Washington insider and a scrappy tea party outsider — in a sense, it’s an almost cartoonishly exaggerated version of the dynamic that has divided the GOP for years now.
But already, some of the country’s most prominent conservative organizations have signaled that Stockman will likely have to go it alone against Cornyn. With less than three months until primary day and only $32,000 in Stockman’s campaign account (Cornyn has nearly $7 million on hand), several top conservative strategists privately suggested the race was a fool’s errand – or, more kindly, a quixotic effort that Stockman is welcome to pursue on his own.
It would be harder to find a candidate who more fully embodies the official GOP than Cornyn, a former judge and state attorney general who spent two election cycles tangling with activists as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Stockman, meanwhile, could pass for a right-wing congressman on an Aaron Sorkin show; he is an unabashed provocateur who raffled off a Bushmaster assault rifle during this year’s gun control debate and once said that the great thing about planet Earth is that “if you poke holes in it oil and gas come out.”
In an 1,100-word campaign manifesto released Tuesday, Stockman called himself “the most fearless conservative in Congress” and warned conservative supporters that “liberal John Cornyn” was seeking to put a “Republican bayonet in your back.”
Not a single outside group said Stockman gave them a heads-up on his plans to run for the Senate. The chairman of the Texas Republican Party said he, too, was blindsided. Ambushed by Stockman’s announcement, the powerful Club for Growth swiftly disavowed any interest in the primary. Several other tea party-friendly groups did not entirely rule out engaging in the election, but played down the possibility and acknowledged up-front that Stockman’s campaign looks like a questionable proposition.
“While Congressman Stockman has a pro-economic growth record, so does Senator Cornyn,” Club for Growth president Chris Chocola said in a statement, noting that the Club decides its endorsements based on both the incumbent’s record and the challenger’s viability. “None of those factors weigh against Senator Cornyn, so we do not expect to be involved in the Texas race.”
Daniel Horowitz of the conservative Madison Project, a group that has endorsed the primary challenger to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, said activist concerns about Cornyn’s record were running up against the limitations of a late-starting Texas campaign.
“Stockman definitely is conservative, not just in votes but in voice,” Horowitz said in an email. “However, because this whole thing took us by surprise, we haven’t met with him or assessed him as a potential Senate candidate.” Horowitz added that “it would be hard to find enough money to run statewide in just three months.”
Activists in Texas also took a jaundiced view of Stockman’s odds. Many tea party types were furious with Cornyn this fall when he broke with the state’s junior senator, Ted Cruz, over an Obamacare defunding measure ahead of the government shutdown, and were desperate for a credible challenger. But while Stockman is a known quantity in some conservative circles, especially among gun-rights groups, he has limited visibility with the general public and even among tea party activists.
It will be very tough for Stockman in this race. I just don't see where he is going to get the support or money to be a serious challenger to John Cornyn.
Last evening news broke that a tentative deal had been reached on the budget. According to FOX News, the deal would would restore some funding while cutting over the next ten years.
Congressional negotiators on Tuesday announced a tentative budget deal that would avoid a partial government shutdown, but also begin to unravel hard-fought spending cuts.
The lead negotiators -- Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., and House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis. -- detailed the specifics of the proposal at an evening press conference.
The proposal would restore about $63 billion in funding that had been cut by the so-called sequester. Though it would also include roughly $23 billion in net deficit reduction over a decade, fiscal conservatives were on high alert that the proposal was raising spending levels too high.
Sources told Fox News the deal sets a “topline” spending threshold for the next two fiscal cycles, with the goal of stopping Congress from teetering from crisis to crisis trying to avoid partial government shutdowns.
But the deal is still likely to raise complaints from fiscal conservatives. One senior House Republican source predicted to Fox News that the party would have the votes to pass the deal, though they speculated the GOP may lose a “healthy chunk” on their side.
On the other side of the aisle, a senior House Democratic source told Fox News before the proposal was announced that "the deal still isn't sitting well with House Democrats."
The hesitation, and opposition, on both sides indicates that congressional leaders still have a lot of convincing to do.
House Speaker John Boehner claimed Tuesday he was "optimistic" about the chances a deal would be passed, but the speaker likely would be reluctant to once again try to pass a bill that a majority of Republican members do not support. He resorted to passing a budget bill with a majority of Democrats in October, in order to end the partial shutdown.
The automatic cuts are the consequence of Washington's failure to follow up a 2011 budget pact with further deficit cuts. They would carve $91 billion from the day-to-day budgets of the Pentagon and domestic agencies when compared with sending limits set by the hard-fought 2011 budget agreement.
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