- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, said Sunday the tea party movement that propelled him and other fiscally conservative candidates to midterm election victories will remain powerful.

“The tea party is a staying force,” Mr. Paul said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Mr. Paul made the statement following Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s comment that the tea party will end as the economy improves.

“The tea party was born because of the economy,” Mr. Reid, Nevada Democrat, said last week during a “Meet the Press” interview aired Sunday. “The tea party will disappear as soon as the economy gets better.

Mr. Paul also reacted to the White House and others saying recently that votes against raising the federal debt ceiling will have a devastating impact on the U.S. economy.

“They’re worried about the debt ceiling; we’re worried about the $14 trillion deficit,” he said.

Mr. Paul said Congress must find ways to connect the debt-ceiling issue with “strategic ways” to fix structural issues on federal spending to “get the focus we need.”

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