News / USA

Tea Party Drives Republican Hardline on Government Funding

Tea Party Drives Republican Hard Line on Government Fundingi
X
October 05, 2013 1:57 PM
A one-page letter - signed by almost one-fifth of the legislators in the U.S. House of Representatives - was a factor leading to a political stalemate and the U.S. government shutdown. Congress and the President cannot agree on continuing to fund the government, with the Republicans determined to undermine the President’s signature healthcare law. As VOA’s Carolyn Presutti tells us, some powerful Republicans say they are bowing to the wishes of their constituents.
A one-page letter - signed by almost one-fifth of the legislators in the U.S. House of Representatives - was a factor leading to a political stalemate and the U.S. government shutdown. Congress and President Barack Obama cannot agree on continuing to fund the government, with the Republicans determined to undermine the president’s signature health care law.  Some powerful Republicans say they are bowing to the wishes of their constituents.

Outside the Capitol, Washington, D.C. is quiet.  Inside, talk is tough. Democrats support the president.

“What have we come to here? We have the best country in the world and it’s time we start running it again,” asked Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-Ind).

“The House has compromised over and over and over again," insisted Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky).

Ultra-conservative

Republican Congressman Barr belongs to the ultra-conservative arm called the Tea Party.  It arrived on the political scene in 2009.  The movement is now a force within the party.

Eighty members (a third of House Republicans, including Barr) signed a letter connecting a repeal of health care reform to any resolution that keeps the government running.  

Barr accused Democrats of pushing through the health care reform act in 2010 when they had a majority in both houses of Congress, and said his Kentucky constituents did’t like it.

“I cannot ignore the deluge of calls and conversations and communications that I’m getting from constituents talking about Obamacare hurting them, their businesses and their families,” he said.

Anti-Obama

According to the Cook Political Report, most of the 80 Republicans come from districts that voted unlike most of the country.  For example, President Obama only received 38 percent of the vote in Barr’s district.  And while voters nationwide are looking more diverse, the Cook Report said Republican districts are getting whiter.

Moderate Republicans agree that Obamacare should be diminished but oppose the tactics of the Tea Party - like shutting down the government.  Analysts said they were looking over their shoulder, afraid of a Tea Party challenger, if they didn't go along. 

“In the case of Republicans looking over their right shoulders, they may be safe in their districts as Republicans if they were to face a Democrat in an election, but they may not be safe from a primary challenge,” explained John Fortier, of the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Blame game

Meanwhile, Republicans and Democrats accuse each other of refusing to compromise. 

"All we are asking for is to sit down and have a discussion," insisted House Speaker John Boehner.

"Mr. Speaker, You shut down the federal government. But now what?” asked said Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii).

 “It’s part of our polarized world," remarked Fortier. "The extent that we have divided government.  Our parties differ a lot.  It’s likely that part of this is the new normal.”

So for now, the factions wait to see which side blinks first.  Until then, the federal government remains shut down until further notice.

Carolyn Presutti

Carolyn Presutti is an Emmy and Silver World Medal award winning television correspondent who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters.   She has also won numerous Associated Press awards and a Clarion for her coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, and The 9/11 Bombing Anniversary.  In 2013, Carolyn aired exclusive stories on the Asiana plane crash and was named VOA’s chief reporter with Google Glass.

You can follow Carolyn on Twitter at CarolynVOA, on Google Plus and Facebook.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
 Previous    
by: MadMc44 from: Maine
October 05, 2013 1:30 PM
I'm happy to hear all Govt. employees will be reimbursed for the days lost as they don't have a dog in the fight. As I see it the only ones that really care are the Tea Party Repubs. Hopefully they are giving up their pay and not for a charitable deduction on their taxes.
The Affordable Care Act is law boys and girls get over it and get back to work or resign and go home.
     

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs