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
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 »
FORMERLY THE DEPT’S TOP ATTORNEY
Transportation Sec. Names Special Adviser for Metro System
6 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has appointed a veteran legal insider with strong personal ties to the Obama administration to serve as his special adviser focused exclusively on fixing the Washington region’s troubled Metro system. Kathryn Thomson, who was expected to leave her job as the Department of Transportation’s top lawyer, instead will stay on as Foxx’s special adviser on Metro oversight." She'll start this week.

Source:
DEATH PENALTY CASE
SCOTUS Finds Racial Bias in Jury Selection
9 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that prosecutors in Georgia violated the Constitution by striking every black prospective juror in a death penalty case against a black defendant. The vote was 7 to 1, with Justice Clarence Thomas dissenting. The case, Foster v. Chatman, No. 14-8349, arose from the 1987 trial of Timothy T. Foster, an African-American facing the death penalty for killing Queen Madge White, an elderly white woman, when he was 18."

Source:
RETRACTED FUNDING
Congressional Report Says NFL Tried To Influence Concussion Study
9 hours ago
THE LATEST

report from House Democrats charges that NFL officials retracted funding for a $16 million NIH study on head injuries after repeated unsuccessful attempts to direct the money away from a Boston University researcher and instead to scientists who might be more favorable to the league. Democrats have been trying to go after the NFL over its handling of concussion science, although the sport's popularity and increased lobbying presence has made that difficult. The new revelations about meddling in the NIH study should offer more ammo. 

Source:
LETS LOWER COURT RULING STAND
SCOTUS Denies Appeal from Virginia GOP
11 hours ago
THE LATEST

"A unanimous Supreme Court has dismissed a Republican appeal over congressional districts in Virginia. The justices on Monday left in place a decision by a lower court that said Virginia illegally packed black voters into one district to make adjacent districts safer for Republican incumbents." The Court said the Republican elected officials who challenged the decision did not have standing to do so.

Source:
THE QUESTION
How Much Has Trump Loaned His Campaign?
16 hours ago
THE ANSWER

"More than $43 million, although the loans are loans in name only — Trump says he has no intention of recouping the cash."

Source:
×