News / USA

Tea Party Big Loser in Budget Battle

Tea Party supporters gather for a rally outside the IRS headquarter in Washington, May 21, 2013. (AP Photo)
Tea Party supporters gather for a rally outside the IRS headquarter in Washington, May 21, 2013. (AP Photo)
There was a bit of a sea change in Washington this week.  The Republican-controlled House of Representatives easily passed a $1.1 trillion budget bill that will keep the government funded through September.  Yes, the very same Republican House that led last October’s 16 day government shutdown that was hugely unpopular with voters.
 
Republicans got the lion’s share of the blame for the shutdown and it looks as though Republican congressional leaders got the message.  House Speaker John Boehner started blasting some independent conservative groups last month that had supported the shutdown, and it was clear that a national shift in public opinion about the Tea Party was having an impact.
 
This budget deal is a compromise.  Democrats are happy about more money for social welfare programs like Head Start and food aid for poor pregnant women.  The government will no longer be under the sequester cuts imposed last year when lawmakers could not reach an agreement.  Republicans are pleased with cuts to some agencies including the Internal Revenue Service as well as foreign aid programs.  They will be able to run re-election campaigns touting a rollback in government spending in general over the past several years.
 
So who’s unhappy?  Tea Party supporters in Congress.  166 House Republicans supported the budget bill while 64 voted no.  Last October, those 64 were among the leaders of the effort to shut down the government over objections to President Barack Obama’s health care law.

To be sure, Republicans will continue to hammer away at the Affordable Care Act this year in the run up to the midterm congressional elections in November.  And the Tea Party will remain a force in Republican primary battles this year.  No incumbent wants to face a Tea Party challenger backed by conservative fundraising machines like FreedomWorks and Heritage Action for America.
 
But there is no question that last year’s government shutdown hurt the image of the Republican Party with the public, and mainstream Republicans are now moving to limit the influence of the Tea Party movement without losing the support of their fervent followers.  It will remain a delicate dance.
 
Christie’s troubles provide opening for 2016 rivals
 
So which Republican White House hopefuls are helped by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s ‘Bridgegate’ scandal?  It’s clearly too early to know for sure and much will depend on what, if anything, comes out in the weeks to come.  If Christie is backed up in his claim that he knew nothing about his aides orchestrating traffic problems on the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge, apparently as an act of political retaliation, he might be able to emerge as a still viable presidential contender in 2016.
 
But if information comes to light that Christie knew more about the bridge issue than he acknowledged it could damage his White House prospects beyond repair.  The governor tried to change the subject with his recent State of the State address focused on education reform and bipartisanship.  But the legislative probes into ‘Bridgegate’ are getting underway and it’s likely the governor will come under media scrutiny for months.

We are now in the early stages of the kind of ‘drip, drip’ scandal that politicians hate.  For Christie’s potential rivals for the 2016 Republican Party presidential nomination, this is a great time to lie low and let the story play out.  Among those likely enjoying the drama most is Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.  Paul gives a lot of indications of running two years from now and has clashed with Christie in the past over spending.  Last year he called Christie “the king of bacon” in the wake of the governor’s efforts to secure federal help for New Jersey in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
 
The latest NBC News/Marist poll shows Christie is still at the top of the list of potential Republican candidates for 2016 at 16 percent.  That’s only down slightly from last month when he was at 18 percent.  Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan follows at 12 percent and Senator Rand Paul is at 9 percent.  One candidate who has dropped more than anyone else in the past month is Texas Senator Ted Cruz, a big supporter of last year’s government shutdown.  Cruz was at 10 percent last month but has dropped to only 5 percent in the latest survey.
 
Cruz’s rating may have taken a hit because of the negative fallout from the government shutdown.  In a perfect world for Chris Christie, that might make him more appealing to Republican voters in 2016 looking for a candidate with a proven record of bipartisanship.  But until Christie can get out from under the shadow of the traffic scandal, he’ll have to hope that Republican voters at the very least suspend their judgment for a while as to how worthy a presidential contender he might be.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid