Speaker John A. Boehner for the second day in a row used a news conference to air grievances against the conservative outside groups who have sought to strong-arm House Republicans into moving further to the right.
"Frankly, I think they are misleading their followers," the Ohio Republican told reporters on Thursday morning. "I think they're pushing our members in places where they don't want to be, and frankly I just think they've lost all credibility.
"You know, they pushed us into this fight to defund Obamacare," Boehner continued, in the lead-up to the government shutdown in October — which, Boehner added, "wasn't the strategy I had in mind. The day before the government reopened, one of these groups stood up and said, 'Well, we never really thought it would work.'
"Are you kidding me?" he said, his voice rising to an all-out bellow.
His frustration in the final days of the first session of the 113th Congress would seem to have reached a fever pitch, but Boehner downplayed suggestions that his comments were in any way new.
"I don't really think that I've said anything new or anything different than what I've felt and what I've said in the past," he said. "There just comes a point where some people step over the line. When you criticize something and you have no idea what you're criticizing, it undermines your credibility."
He was referring to the onslaught of public disdain for the emerging budget framework agreed to by House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., much of which came, Boehner said, before all of the details had been released.
The House will cast a final vote on the budget deal on Thursday evening, with Boehner's leadership once again on the line.
"When criticism was coming, frankly, I thought it was my job and my obligation to stand up for conservatives here in Congress, who want more deficit reductions, and stand up for the work that Chairman Ryan did."
Boehner made the case Wednesday that the budget agreement Ryan helped orchestrate — which reduces the deficit, balances the budget in 10 years and doesn't raise taxes — in no way compromises core conservative principles.
"This budget takes giant steps in the right direction," Boehner repeated on Thursday.