GOP Congressman Rips Tea Party Colleagues: ‘I’m Not Sure They’re Republicans’

Intra-party tensions are running high as end to shutdown nears.

Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) (C) speaks as Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) (R), and House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) listen during a news conference after a closed House Republican Conference meeting May 15, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
National Journal
Shane Goldmacher
Add to Briefcase
Shane Goldmacher
Oct. 16, 2013, 11:10 a.m.

In a sign of the in­tern­al back­lash against the right wing of the House Re­pub­lic­an Con­fer­ence, Louisi­ana Re­pub­lic­an Charles Bous­tany ques­tioned the polit­ic­al al­le­gi­ances and mo­tiv­a­tions of his tea party-aligned col­leagues and said they had put the GOP ma­jor­ity at risk in the cur­rent shut­down fight.

“There are mem­bers with a dif­fer­ent agenda,” Bous­tany said Wed­nes­day in an in­ter­view in his of­fice. “And I’m not sure they’re Re­pub­lic­ans and I’m not sure they’re con­ser­vat­ive.”

His com­ments came a day after rank-and-file House Re­pub­lic­ans re­jec­ted a pack­age to re­open the gov­ern­ment au­thored by their own lead­er, Speak­er John Boehner. The res­ult is that a bi­par­tis­an Sen­ate-au­thored deal to end the two-week gov­ern­ment shut­down ap­pears poised to pass with al­most noth­ing of sub­stance gained by House con­ser­vat­ives for the shut­down they pre­cip­it­ated.

“The speak­er has said con­sist­ently un­less we can put 218 votes up, and prefer­ably more than that, our abil­ity to ne­go­ti­ate is pretty much un­der­mined and that’s the prob­lem we’ve re­peatedly found ourselves in,” said Bous­tany, who has served since 2005 and is a seni­or mem­ber of the Ways and Means Com­mit­tee. “Look at payroll tax. Look at fisc­al cliff. You can go on and on. There are a hand­ful of mem­bers ““ the num­bers sort of vary, it’s in the 20-30 range ““ that are enough to de­rail a Re­pub­lic­an con­ser­vat­ive agenda in the House.”

Bous­tany said those law­makers are so ob­sessed with op­pos­ing any com­prom­ise that they end up driv­ing the fi­nal le­gis­lat­ive res­ult fur­ther from the broad­er GOP goals. “I think there are mem­bers who are in com­plete deni­al about their re­spons­ib­il­ity to gov­ern and to try to use con­ser­vat­ive prin­ciples to get the best pos­sible le­gis­lat­ive pack­age we can get,” he said.

Rep. Mick Mul­vaney, R-S.C., who typ­ic­ally lines up with the most con­ser­vat­ive fac­tion of the House, agreed that the GOP re­jec­tion of Boehner’s plan has res­ul­ted in a “much, much worse” deal at a monthly for­um sponsored by the Her­it­age Found­a­tion Wed­nes­day.

Bous­tany, a former sur­geon who is not known as the most out­spoken GOP mem­ber, said he fears his party’s in­ab­il­ity to rule the cham­ber with its own ma­jor­ity is threat­en­ing its hold on the House.

This could trig­ger a wave of dis­con­tent that could wash out our Re­pub­lic­an ma­jor­ity in the House if we’re not care­ful ““ it’s get­ting to that level,” Bous­tany said.

And he poin­ted the blame squarely at tea party law­makers who he said were more con­cerned about bol­ster­ing their con­ser­vat­ive bona fides than gov­ern­ing.

“Their al­le­gi­ance is not to the mem­bers in the con­fer­ence. Their al­le­gi­ance is not to the lead­er­ship team and to con­ser­vat­ive val­ues,” he said. “Their al­le­gi­ance is to these out­side Wash­ing­ton DC in­terest groups that raise money and go after con­ser­vat­ive Re­pub­lic­ans.”

Only a hand­ful of House Re­pub­lic­ans have spoken out pub­licly against the hard­line fac­tion of the House GOP, but Bous­tany said the shut­down had grown their num­bers. “There is a very large si­lent ma­jor­ity that’s get­ting frus­trated with what’s hap­pen­ing be­cause of what these out­side groups have done by set­ting false ex­pect­a­tions, de­lib­er­ately mis­lead­ing the pub­lic on some of these is­sues and com­mand­ing al­le­gi­ance of cer­tain mem­bers who falsely place their al­le­gi­ance to these groups rather than to their con­sti­tu­tion­al re­spons­ib­il­ity to gov­ern,” he said.

Tim Alberta contributed to this article.
What We're Following See More »
UNANIMOUS DECISION
SCOTUS Rules Against Venue Shopping in Patent Cases
58 minutes ago
THE DETAILS

Writing for an 8-0 Supreme Court on Monday, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that patent lawsuits "must be brought in the state where the defendant company is incorporated. ... The ruling likely spells an end to the near-monopoly the federal court in the Eastern District of Texas holds in handling patent cases. Plaintiffs for decades have filed suits in that pro-plaintiff district based on a broader interpretation of venue that made suits possible almost anywhere."

Source:
BASED ON FIFTH AMENDMENT
Flynn To Refuse To Cooperate With Subpoena
1 hours ago
BREAKING

Former National Security Adviser to President Donald Trump Michael Flynn will refuse to cooperate with a subpoena from the Senate Intelligence Committee. "Flynn will invoke his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination." Flynn was unlikely to turn over any documents without being granted immunity, as he "has previously sought immunity from 'unfair prosecution.'"

Source:
UNCERTAINTY THROUGH AUGUST
White House To Request Second 90-Day Delay In Obamacare Subsidy Case
2 hours ago
BREAKING

The Trump administration plans to ask a federal court Monday for a second 90-day delay in a lawsuit over Obamacare subsidies. The lawsuit, House vs. Price, revolves around the Obamacare co-payment program, which pays health insurers who partake in the Obamacare exchanges to ensure that people without means can gain coverage without having to pay unaffordable co-payments.

ISOLATION VS. OPENNESS
Trump Puts Rouhani in a Tough Spot
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"On Sunday, U.S. President Donald Trump called on the world to isolate Iran," to the delight of his Sunni hosts, Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, however, on Saturday, "Iranians poured into the streets by the hundreds of thousands to celebrate the re-election of President Hassan Rouhani, whose message of opening up to the West helped him to trounce a hard-line challenger."

Source:
TILLERSON SAYS IT’S PART OF JERUSALEM
Trump Becomes First President To Visit Western Wall
3 hours ago
BREAKING
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login