Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, responded to Republican openness to making deals on taxes and immigration that the tea party movement’s view of sticking as close to GOP orthodoxy as possible has been good for the party.
The comments, made on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor,” were in response to John Boehner deemphasizing the influence of the Tea Party in the U.S. House of Representatives as he and others in the party have voiced a desire to avoid the fiscal cliff and solve the ongoing immigration problems facing the country.
"The whole idea of this movement is to make us more ideologically consistent in our conservatism," Lee said. "To help us sell this policy, this message that says, ‘look whether you are a woman or whether you are Hispanic or of some other background you will benefit as the government gets out of your way.’"
Boehner said in an interview with ABC News while Republicans who were elected to Congress in 2010 were supported by the movement, “We don't have a Tea Party Caucus to speak of in the House."
The Tea Party Caucus was started in 2010 by Rep. Michele Bachman, R-Minn., and was approved as an official congressional member organization that year, according to CBS News.
Lee said the caucus helped the Republican Party in 2010, when it took control of the House, and benefitted the party in the 2012 election cycle as well.
"I really don't know what John Boehner meant about this Tea Party Caucus," he said. "It may have been that all he meant was that the Tea Party cause is itself the Republican cause. If that's all he meant, then I agree with him wholeheartedly."
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