News / USA

Tea Party Keeps Close Eye on Republicans

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, center, performs the ceremonial swearing-in of Tea Party favorite Rep. Jon Runyan, R-N.J., in Washington, January 5, 2011
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, center, performs the ceremonial swearing-in of Tea Party favorite Rep. Jon Runyan, R-N.J., in Washington, January 5, 2011

In U.S. politics, the so-called Tea Party movement played a crucial role in helping Republicans make gains in Congress in last November’s midterm election.  Tea Party leaders are vowing to keep a close watch on newly elected lawmakers, especially Republican leaders in the House of Representatives, where Republicans are now the majority party.  

The Tea Party movement is a loose alliance of grassroots groups around the country that are generally conservative or Libertarian in outlook and united by a single theme-reducing the size and reach of the federal government.

Tea Party supporters have taken credit for the new Republican majority in the House and Republican gains in the Senate, and their leaders are vowing to keep the pressure on the new Congress to carry out the promise of lower taxes, budget cuts and smaller government.

North Carolina Tea Party activist Randy Dye recently attended a rally in Raleigh. "We are here to let the Republicans know that we are watching,” he said. “Just because they are elected, and we are glad they are elected, we are going to hold them accountable for the promises they have made."

Newly elected members of Congress who benefited from Tea Party support are determined to deliver on the election promises they made.

Republican Representative Allen West of Florida says voters and Tea Party supporters in particular are impatient for change. "The American people are looking for positive indicators and trends within the first 90 to 120 days and if they do not see that coming and that we are just more business as usual, we will get thrown on the ash heap as well," he said.

Republicans in Congress have already formed Tea Party Caucuses in both the House and Senate to push the demands of the Tea Party movement in Washington.

Rand Paul is a new U.S. senator from Kentucky who was elected in November with strong support from the Tea Party.  Speaking at the first meeting of the Senate Tea Party Caucus’ Rand receive support from the crowd.

The relationship between Tea Party supporters and Republican congressional leaders continues to evolve.

Republican Congressman Paul Ryan gave the official Republican response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address.

But another Republican House member, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, also gave a response on behalf of some Tea Party groups. "And you voted out the big-spending politicians, and you put in their place great men and women with a commitment to follow our Constitution and cut the size of government," she stated.

For the moment, Republicans and Tea Party activists appear to be on the same page in the wake of last year’s election, united in working to repeal the Obama health care reform law and pushing for major cuts in federal spending.

Analyst John Fortier is with the American Enterprise Institute and was a guest on VOA’s Encounter program. "The big theme [of the election] was we are worried about debt, deficits and the size of government.  And you do not even have to be the most radical Tea Party person to believe that.  Many independents also have some queasiness about some very serious budget problems," he said.

Many experts foresee a prolonged congressional battle over government spending this year with President Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress trying to fend off deep budget cuts.

In his State of the Union Address, President Obama said he believes the election results in November mean the American people want the two parties to work together. "With their votes, they have determined that governing will now be a shared responsibility between parties.  New laws will only pass with support from Democrats and Republicans," Mr. Obama said.

Republicans have plenty of political momentum in the wake of their November election victories.  But President Obama has also made a comeback in public-opinion polls in recent weeks, says analyst Richard Wolffe.

"He has been making up substantial ground in recovering poll numbers and support from the middle of the country, from independent voters who left him over the last couple of years," Wolffe said.

The first major political test for the president, Republicans and the Tea Party will come in a matter of weeks when Congress will be asked to raise the debt limit so that the government can continue to borrow money.  Republicans are insisting on deep cuts as part of any deal to raise the debt limit, and experts will be closely watching the extent to which Tea Party endorsed lawmakers will be willing to compromise on the issue, if at all.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs