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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact 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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs