On Friday, Tea Party Patriots held its second freshman orientation brunch for newly elected Members of Congress. Approximately 10 new Members attended, and three Tea Party-minded veterans gave them and over 100 Tea Party Patriot State and Local coordinators advice on how to stand on principle in 2013.
Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) was first. Jordan, who has been a close ally of the Tea Party Patriots, spoke strongly about tax reform and spending cuts. He also explained how Members of Congress sometimes need the kind of aggressive discipline his high school wrestling coach provided to him. When I asked him about details on how he envisions tax reform, Jordan said he supports eliminating loopholes solely to lower rates – essentially, that additional revenue should only come from economic growth, not through tax code changes that raise the tax burden on Americans.
Next was Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX), who spoke about the institutionalized thinking in Washington. He talked about his push for zero-based budgeting, and legislation he introduced – and the House passed – that is being held up by the Senate.
Third, but not least, was Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). Paul talked about zero-based budgeting and inefficiencies in the federal budget. He also spoke about how Republicans and Democrats should compromise on spending cuts, insofar as Republicans should agree to cut inefficient spending in the Defense Department (he referenced Senator Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) new report on the subject) while Democrats agree to reform entitlements. He also pointed out that Democrats are being dishonest on the Bush tax cuts – extending them is not a tax cut for the wealthy. It is extending current policy.
The Members-elect wandering in and out weren’t as recognizable as Jordan, Paul, and Gohmert, but on his way out the door, I asked newly elected Congressman Doug LaMalfa (CA-1) what kind of deal he would support, if any, to raise the debt ceiling. Rep.-elect LaMalfa said he was hesitant to say anything supportive of raising the ceiling, but that any increase would have to include “real reform,” including a significant Balanced Budget Amendment.
Also around was Member-elect Doug Collins from Georgia, who attended with his wife and press secretary. Rep.-elect Collins only stopped by briefly, but in a follow-up e-mail said he “look[s] forward to working with Tea Party members in Georgia and across the nation to reduce our debt, scale back the size of government and finally balance a federal budget.”
The Tea Party is taking a lot of heat in the mainstream media after this month’s elections, but these new Members are in the same mold as Paul, Mike Lee, Tim Scott, and other conservatives swept into office in 2010. They are the new generation set to take on responsibility in Congress, a generation dedicated to making sure the future of America is as bright as her past.