Tags: sequester | gop | spending | cuts

Huelskamp: Sequester Marks 'First Significant Tea Party Victory'

Tuesday, 26 Feb 2013 01:14 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Some GOP lawmakers see the budget sequester set to take place on Friday as a disaster, but tea party Republicans are ready to declare victory because it will finally produce the kind of deep spending cuts they say Congress and the president have been unable to accomplish.

“This will be the first significant tea party victory in that we got what we set out to do in changing Washington,” Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp, a conservative tea party Republican first elected in 2010, told the Washington Post.

Wisconsin Republican Rep. Reid J. Ribble, a conservative who was also elected in 2010, is not a member of the tea party. But he agrees with Huelskamp that the movement does deserve the right to celebrate over the pending cuts because it was "significant in getting the American people’s attention on this problem.

"You have to give them credit," Ribble told the Post.

But Huelskamp worries that anything could happen before Friday to upset the sequester, which would reduce federal spending across the board by an initial $85 billion as part of an overall target of $1.2 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years. He's concerned that his own leadership could agree to an alternative plan that would lessen the impact of the cuts or possibly delay them again.

According to the Post, Boehner and other GOP leaders are in a difficult spot. The most conservative members of their party, like Huelskamp, are urging them to stay the course on the sequester and allow the automatic cuts to proceed. But at the same time, the leaders are opposed to any more cuts in defense spending and, as the Post put it, "see little wisdom in indiscriminate, across-the-board reductions elsewhere."

“They promised the sequester would happen,” said Huelskamp, who voted against the original bill authorizing the sequester because he didn't believe it cut deep enough.

He also voted against Boehner for speaker earlier this year because of his efforts to negotiate a budget deal with the White House.

“For them to go back on their word certainly threatens their ability to lead," he said.

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