Boehner: Cruz's budget deal criticism 'total nonsense'

Story highlights

  • Ted Cruz, a frequent critic of John Boehner, said the deal passed this week was a "complete and utter surrender" to congressional Democrats
  • Boehner said he regrets not being able to get immigration reform done

Washington (CNN)John Boehner pushed back Sunday against Ted Cruz's criticism that the two-year budget deal passed by Congress this week was a "slap in the face to conservatives."

"That's just total nonsense," Boehner told CNN's Dana Bash on "State of the Union." "This is real entitlement reform in this agreement. We've got a big group of members who need more money for our national defense, and all the increases in spending are offset with spending reductions elsewhere in the government."
Cruz, a frequent critic of Boehner, said the deal passed this week -- which increases federal spending by more than $80 billion over the next two years and raises the nation's debt limit through March 2017 -- was a "complete and utter surrender" to congressional Democrats.
    "John Boehner's golden parachute will certainly cement his legacy but it is a slap in the face to conservatives," Cruz said Tuesday.
    Boehner, along with other lawmakers, crafted the budget deal with President Barack Obama. Bash asked if the talks were difficult given problems the two leaders have had in the past.
    But, the former speaker maintained, "we have a good relationship. At the end of the day, it's about doing the best we can considering those things on behalf of the American people. And so we had a lot of conversations, some of them were better than others."
    Despite that "good relationship," Boehner said he regrets that the two were not able to reform immigration.
    "Reforming our immigration system, securing our borders would be good for America. But unfortunately, the President kept poisoning the well, and poisoning the well to the point where it was impossible to put it on the floor of the house," he said.
    "Why was it the President and not the right flank of your own caucus?" Bash asked.
    "There's probably some blame there as well," Boehner said, "but we could've dealt with that."