WASHINGTON – House Freedom Caucus co-founder Jim Jordan Sunday blamed mistakes by fellow Republicans for President Trump's deal with Democrats to raise the federal debt limit without cutting spending.
But while the Ohio Republican criticized congressional leaders for not better preparing for the negotiation, Jordan said he still has full confidence in House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc.
“No one is talking about changing the leadership,” Jordan said on Fox News Sunday.
He dismissed a Washington Post story about Freedom Caucus leaders meeting with Ryan Wednesday to express frustration.
"That's hardly news," Jordan said. "We meet with the speaker every single week."
It was a Freedom Caucus rebellion that forced the resignation of then-Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and led to Ryan's elevation to the post.
Republicans are still fuming about President Trump’s deal with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., for a $15.25 billion hurricane relief package that also increased the nation’s debt limit and extended funding for the federal government for the next three months.
Before the deal, Ryan said that lumping multiple bills together on a short-term basis was “ridiculous.” GOP leaders had also wanted a longer-term increase of the debt limit.
Jordan didn’t fault Trump for making the deal. He said congressional leaders rejected the Freedom Caucus’ call for lawmakers to stay in session through August until they figured out a plan for raising the debt limit, overhauling the tax code and repealing Obamacare. That would’ve allowed Republicans to present Trump with a better alternative, he said.
“Frankly, what options did the president have in front of him?” Jordan asked. “When you fail to prepare, you get a bad outcome. That’s what happened here.”
Arizona Sen. John McCain, however, was more willing to lay blame at the president’s feet.
“The way you do deals is, you sit down together … go over proposals back and forth,” McCain said on CNN’s State of the Union. “The proposal the president accepted, the speaker had just categorically rejected.”
McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the short-term budget extension is “devastating to national defense” because it freezes spending at last year’s level, which isn’t enough to keep readiness and training from declining.
“This is a president who campaigned and said `I’m going to rebuild the military,’” McCain said. The deal that does not increase military spending is "not something I can stand for,” he said.
Asked Friday about the 90 House Republicans who voted the bill, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders pointed out most Republicans voted for it.
"The most important thing is that the deal got done," Sanders said. "The president acted on it and he worked with Democrats to get it done. And I think he's going to continue to work with whoever is interested in moving the ball forward to help the American people."