Tea Party House Members Demand–and get–More Cuts
It shouldn’t go unremarked upon that the Tea Party Republicans in the US House of Representatives took a stand and prevailed earlier this week.
The revolt of freshman and conservative Republicans over spending cuts for this fiscal year ended almost before it began, because it prevailed so rapidly. The rebellion started in rumblings back in the lawmakers’ districts; gathered in the defiance of Republican dissenters on the appropriations committee; and reached full force at yesterday’s conference meeting, knocking GOP leaders back on their heels and quickly convincing them to give in to the Tea Party’s demands.
“We may be freshmen, we may be rookies in this game,” says Rep. Steve Womack (R., Ark.). “But there is no question that the leadership respects our opinion.”
GOP freshmen were frustrated when, earlier this month, House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) released his proposal to cut $58 billion in non-security spending for the remainder of the fiscal year. Perhaps more than anything, they were confused. To begin with, it wasn’t exactly clear how much money they were planning to cut — in addition to Ryan’s $58 billion, the numbers $74 billion, $43 billion, and $32 billion were floating around. It seemed that few could agree, because it depended on what baseline and category of spending you were using.
Whatever the actual figure, it was short of the $100 billion Republicans had promised to cut in the “Pledge to America.”
So they blocked the measure and took on the leadership and prevailed. That’s why they were sent there. Hopefully, the message has been received by the old guard. Things do indeed look to be different this time around.