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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Official Pleased With Ebola Containment Measure

Official says three-day sensitization effort will help reduce infection rate of Ebola disease nationwide More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened 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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid