- Blame Bush: 5 years later, that’s still the mantra, pollsters find
- Dutch prostitutes demand same retirement benefits as soccer stars
- John McCain to Harry Reid: I’ll ‘kick the crap’ out of you
- Dogs that talk: Researchers seek $10K for ‘No More Woof’ technology
- 1,000 firefighters called to battle stubborn Big Sur wildfire
- Black Friday brouhaha: Millions of Target shoppers hit by credit card theft
- Britain orders airplane to rescue citizens from violent South Sudan
- Mega Millions winner emerges as Georgia mom, in ‘disbelief’
- ‘Duck Dynasty’ Phil Robertson suspended ‘indefinitely’ for gay quip
- John Podesta eats crow: ‘I apologize to Speaker Boehner’
At Hill rally, tea partyers turn up heat on Boehner
GOP pressed not to ‘cave’ on spending cuts
Question of the Day
House Speaker John A. Boehner praised tea partyers Thursday morning, and then members of the grass-roots movement assailed him in the afternoon, saying the Ohio Republican shouldn’t give in to Democrats‘ demands in the spending battle in Congress, even if that results in a government shutdown.
With anxiety growing as their electoral successes have not translated into major legislative gains, tea party leaders and their allies in Congress are warning lawmakers of all stripes that political penalties will result if they avoid making the tough decisions needed to put the country on a sustainable fiscal path.
Overall, the spending debate has strained the GOP’s relationship with the tea party, and nowhere is that more evident than with Mr. Boehner. The speaker says he values the insurgent movement’s role, but SenateDemocrats say that the tea party is the only thing preventing the speaker from making a deal that would cut spending and get near-universal approval from Congress.
The story line continued to play out Thursday when hundreds of tea partyers gathered across the street from the Capitol for a “Continuing Revolution” rally, sponsored by the Tea Party Patriots, where they waved signs that read “Grow a spine” and “Remember your promises, we do,” while calling on the Republicans to follow through on their campaign pledge to cut $100 billion in spending before Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.
“Cut it or shut it,” many in the crowd chanted, airing a lingering frustration that has been compounded by news reports suggesting that Republicans are hashing out the details of a deal with Democrats that would slice $33 billion in this year’s spending, a cut that falls far short of the party’s pledge.
“He’s caved and capitulated at every turn,” he said.
Others shared the frustration, but said Mr. Boehner has to weigh how the political fallout from a government shutdown would affect his party in the next election, where he hopes to increase his GOP numbers and make it easier to reduce federal spending over the long run.
“He has conflicting goals,” said James Renwick Manship, a tea party regular who was dressed in regalia reminiscent of the George Washington era. “One is certainly fixing the budget, and the other is winning the Senate [in 2012], so we can cut the budget and win the spending war” over the long haul.
Tea party leaders told The Washington Times this week that the spending battle will set the tone and that Mr. Boehner could face a primary challenge in the next election because he has not done enough to cut spending.
Despite the mounting criticism, Mr. Boehner, who began courting the tea party a year ago to help lay the groundwork for the Republicans’ November election wins, came to the defense of the movement at a news conference Thursday. He told reporters that the movement has an important role in the public debate.
“Listen, I’m glad that they’re here. And I’m glad that they’re engaged in the process. You know, I said over a year ago that we should talk to the tea party folks, that we should listen to them, and we should walk amongst them,” he said. “I don’t feel any differently about it today.”
Still, he made clear the limits of what he and his caucus can do.
“We control one-half of one-third of the government here in Washington,” he said. “We can’t impose our will on the Senate. All we can do is to fight for all of the spending cuts that we can get an agreement to.”
Asked how willing he would be to negotiate a deal that leaves behind conservatives, Mr. Boehner made clear where his allegiance lies: “Not very interested.”
Democratic leaders have banked on a divide-and-conquer strategy in spending negotiations with Republicans, as they try to drive a wedge between Mr. Boehner and tea party-aligned lawmakers, many of them freshmen who have little appetite for compromising on spending cuts.
“The tea party may have helped the Republicans win the last election, but they’re not helping the Republicans govern. The tea party is a negative force in these talks,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, who has spoken regularly on the Senate floor this week in attempts to pressure Mr. Boehner to turn his back on tea partyers.
Mr. Schumer said the tea party’s engagement in politics is “as American as it gets,” but that their spending-cuts goals “are extreme because they’re out of step with what most Americans want” in terms of spending cuts.
Mr. Schumer unintentionally revealed at the start of a conference call this week that painting the tea party as “extreme” was a party talking point. “I always use the word ‘extreme’ — that is what the caucus instructed me to do the other week,” he said when he thought the call hadn’t started recording.
Responding to a spate of attacks against tea partyers, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, told his colleagues that “the goals of the tea party sound pretty reasonable.”
“These folks recognize the gravity of the problems we face as a nation, and they’re doing something about it for the sake of our future,” he said. “They’re engaged in the debate about spending and debt — which is a lot more than we can say about the president and many Democrats in Congress.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- House, Senate GOP differ in approach to support of budget deal
- Dr. Ben Carson disavows efforts at presidential draft
- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- House budget bargain faces Senate filibuster; Republicans line up to oppose
- IRS nominee gets GOP support
Latest Blog Entries
- Sen. Marco Rubio: Budget is step in the wrong direction
- Tea Party Patriots: Congress will break promise of future deficit reduction
- Speaker John Boehner escalates clash with conservative critics of budget deal
- Sen. Lamar Alexander's chief of staff involved in child pornography probe
- Rand Paul: Budget deal 'shameful,' 'huge mistake'
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Fourth Amendment says Obama is not at liberty to collect metadata
- Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson suspended indefinitely for gay quip
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- Half of America strips religion from Christmas
- In court filing, NCAA denies legal duty to protect athletes
- Bill Gates: The Secret Santa disguised as a 'friendly fellow' on Reddit
- Obamacare 'pajamas boy' gets roundly mocked
- Armed response, not restrictive gun laws, brought swift end to school shooting
- U.S. Army mulls wiping out memory of Robert E. Lee, 'Stonewall' Jackson
- NAPOLITANO: NSA spies pick up interference from the Constitution
- John McCain to Harry Reid: Ill kick the crap out of you
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Politics, economics, and business from a real world perspective.
The cold hard truth about politics in America today and the state of this once great nation.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow