The House of Representatives’ refusal to rubber-stamp a two-month extension to the payroll tax holiday is a victory for House Speaker John Boehner, not a defeat, tea party Rep. Joe Walsh tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview.
The Senate-agreed extension would have placed an unacceptable burden on small businesses throughout the country, the Illinois Republican said, and Boehner’s insistence that Congress remained in session rather than simply accept the compromise showed strong leadership.
“What a courageous leader he is that he has kept his conference here in Washington working. He has kept us meeting, he has listened to us,” said Walsh, who is considered one of the key tea party leaders in Congress. “I give him all the credit in the world.”
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Walsh said Boehner has an incredibly difficult job having to negotiate with a do-nothing Senate and a president who doesn’t understand the economy.
“I’ve got to be honest with you, I don’t know what this Senate does. They haven’t passed a budget in over two years. They have tabled about 20 of our jobs bills that we’ve sent over there this past year. I don’t know how they get paid. I don’t know what they do.
“Remember this as well, our Speaker is dealing with a president who is so out of touch with the American people, who doesn’t understand what’s going on in the economy right now and our Speaker is trying to negotiate with him. That’s hard.”
White House spokesman Dan Pfeiffer singled out Walsh and fellow freshman Rep. Allen West of Florida for holding up agreement on the payroll tax extension. Walsh said that was an indication of “just how low” President Barack Obama has sunk.
”If this president thinks that he can score political points attacking a tea party congressman like me, he’s really missing the boat.
”He’s not serious,” Walsh added. “Americans want us to do our job. Here’s a president who has destroyed the private economy in this country, who has led to an economy where, for three years, Americans aren’t working, and they’re not working as a direct result of his policies.
“The reason we are even contemplating extending the payroll tax cut is because his policies have failed. The reason we are willing to extend unemployment insurance for another year with reforms is because his jobs policies have failed. People are hurting He’s asked for a year-long extension, the Democrats in the Senate ought to listen to him.”
Walsh insisted the House vote should not be read as a “tea party revolt” as the White House has tried to paint it.
“Since I first started running for Congress two years ago, there is a movement of people in this country that is sick of the way Washington does business and they are scared to death with how broke we are. That is labeled the tea party movement.
“I’ll tell you what, it’s bigger than the media knows and it is truthfully bigger than either party knows.
“This movement is people who are out of work, they are suffocating and they are hurting this Christmas. They are hurting because this president doesn’t know the first thing about the economy and, as a result, his policies have destroyed the economy.”
Walsh said business groups have been adamant that a two-month extension would have resulted in a crippling burden of form filling and red tape.
“They will tell you that what the Senate just passed over the weekend is beyond silly, it is just not workable, they can’t process the paperwork necessary to put a two-month extension of a payroll tax cut into play.”
Walsh has been one of the most outspoken tea party-affiliated members of Congress since he beat incumbent Democrat Melissa Bean by just 291 votes in Illinois 8th district of Chicago’s northern suburbs. He has been in the forefront of calls for attorney general Eric Holder’s resignation over the Fast and Furious gunrunning scandal and for overturning the ban on Congressmen sending out holiday messages that mention religious festivals.
In his Newsmax interview, he said Holder’s claims that he is being attacked because he is black were “shameful.”
“The last refuge of the left often, when they’ve lost an argument, is to throw out the race card,” he said. “I authored a letter to the president a couple of weeks ago, 50 of my colleagues joined me, asking this president to ask his attorney general to step down. That had nothing to do with what his race is, it had to do with the fact to do that he oversaw a criminal enterprise that our government was engaged in.”
He said Holder’s comment sent out a message that Obama will use race to his advantage during the presidential campaign by saying , “If you criticize me, you had better watch out. You’re being racist, you’re criticizing me because I’m black.”
“The American people aren’t going to put up with that,” Walsh predicted, saying the media should be calling the president out on it.
He called the decision to allow congressmen to mail out messages saying Happy Holidays, but not Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah, “political correctness run amok.”
“It’s wrong. We’ve got a letter that 50 of my colleagues, Democrat and Republican, have joined us and we are asking the Franking Commission and the House Administration Rules Committee to change that rule. We should be able to wish our constituents Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah. That’s just silly.”
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