Friday, March 25, 2011

Boehner faces Tea Party pressure

From Janet Hook of The Wall Street Journal on March 25:
Home-state tea-party activists have access to House Speaker John Boehner that any lobbyist would envy. They meet twice a month with a top aide to the Ohio Republican, and their emails are answered quickly.

But that doesn't seem to be enough to turn them into loyalists.

Ohio conservatives say they are preparing to call 1,000 of Mr. Boehner's donors to complain that he isn't doing enough to block a debt-limit increase. On a new Facebook page, "Tea Partiers Against Boehner,'' they air complaints. The national group Tea Party Patriots, saying that Republicans are "timidly passing mediocre spending reforms,'' has called for a rally at the Capitol.

The calls to make big spending cuts come as Mr. Boehner works under deadline pressure with Democratic lawmakers and the White House on a plan to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year to avoid a potential government shutdown after April 8.

Such negotiations tend to push lawmakers toward compromise. The tea-party activists want Mr. Boehner to stick to his guns on $61 billion in budget cuts that the House approved earlier this year. "You said you were going to cut X amount, and that's what we want to see happen,'' said Chris Littleton, co-founder of the Ohio Liberty Council, a coalition of tea-party groups. "Just take a stand. That's pretty cut and dried.''

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said the House speaker "believes an increase in the debt ceiling cannot and should not pass without spending cuts and reforms so that we can keep cutting spending."Mr. Steel said that Republicans will have to keep reminding their allies that the GOP's power in Washington remains limited. "Washington, D.C., is still controlled by Democrats, and congressional Republicans are the only thing standing between the American people and more 'stimulus' spending, more bailouts, and more big government takeovers," Mr. Steel said.


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