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 »
“CLINTON MUST BECOME THE NEXT PRESIDENT”
Bernie Sanders Seeks to Unite the Party
5 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Instead of his usual stump speech, Bernie Sanders tonight threw his support behind Hillary Clinton, providing a clear contrast between Clinton and GOP nominee Donald Trump on the many issues he used to discuss in his campaign stump speeches. Sanders spoke glowingly about the presumptive Democratic nominee, lauding her work as first lady and as a strong advocate for women and the poor. “We need leadership in this country which will improve the lives of working families, the children, the elderly, the sick and the poor,” he said. “Hillary Clinton will make a great president, and I am proud to stand with her tonight."

“MUST NEVER BE PRESIDENT”
Elizabeth Warren Goes After Donald Trump
5 hours ago
THE DETAILS

In a stark contrast from Michelle Obama's uplifting speech, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke about the rigged system plaguing Americans before launching into a full-throated rebuke of GOP nominee Donald Trump. Trump is "a man who has never sacrificed anything for anyone," she claimed, before saying he "must never be president of the United States." She called him divisive and selfish, and said the American people won't accept his "hate-filled America." In addition to Trump, Warren went after the Republican Party as a whole. "To Republicans in Congress who said no, this November the American people are coming for you," she said.

FLOTUS OFFERS STRONG ENDORSEMENT OF CLINTON
Michelle Obama: “I Trust” Hillary Clinton
6 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"In this election, and every election, it's about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives," Michelle Obama said. "There is only one person who I trust with that responsibility … and that is our friend Hillary Clinton." In a personal and emotional speech, Michelle Obama spoke about the effect that angry oppositional rhetoric had on her children and how she chose to raise them. "When they go low, we go high," Obama said she told her children about dealing with bullies. Obama stayed mostly positive, but still offered a firm rebuke of Donald Trump, despite never once uttering his name. "The issues a president faces cannot be boiled down to 140 characters," she said.

SANDERS BACKER CONFRONTS STUBBORN SANDERS SUPPORTERS
Sarah Silverman to Bernie or Bust: “You’re Being Ridiculous”
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Many Bernie Sanders delegates have spent much of the first day of the Democratic National Convention resisting unity, booing at mentions of Hillary Clinton and often chanting "Bernie! Bernie!" Well, one of the most outspoken Bernie Sanders supporters just told them to take a seat. "To the Bernie-or-bust people: You're being ridiculous," said comedian Sarah Silverman in a brief appearance at the Convention, minutes after saying that she would proudly support Hillary Clinton for president.

‘INEXCUSABLE REMARKS’
DNC Formally Apologizes to Bernie Sanders
11 hours ago
THE LATEST

The Democratic National Committee issued a formal apology to Bernie Sanders today, after leaked emails showed staffers trying to sabotage his presidential bid. "On behalf of everyone at the DNC, we want to offer a deep and sincere apology to Senator Sanders, his supporters, and the entire Democratic Party for the inexcusable remarks made over email," DNC officials said in the statement. "These comments do not reflect the values of the DNC or our steadfast commitment to neutrality during the nominating process. The DNC does not—and will not—tolerate disrespectful language exhibited toward our candidates."

Source:
×