Washington, US | June 3
The Republican newcomers stunned Washington back in 2010 when they seized the House majority with bold promises to cut taxes and spending and to roll back what many viewed as Barack Obama’s presidential overreach.
But don’t call them tea party Republicans any more.
Eight years later, the House Tea Party Caucus is long gone. So, too, are almost half the 87 new House Republicans elected in the biggest GOP wave since the 1920s.
Some, including current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, joined the executive branch. Others slipped back to private life. Several are senators.
Now, with control of the House again at stake this fall and just three dozen of them seeking re-election, the tea party revolt shows the limits of riding a campaign wave into the reality of governing.
Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., who was president of that freshman class, objects to the tea party brand that he says was slapped on the group by the media and the Obama administration. It’s a label some lawmakers now would rather forget.
“We weren’t who you all said we were,” Scott said.
He prefers to call it the class of “small-business owners” or those who wanted to “stop the growth of the federal government.” Despite all those yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flags and anti-Obama health law rallies, Scott said the new Republican lawmakers wanted to work with the president, if only Obama would have engaged them.
“We didn’t come to take over the country,” he said. Yet change Washington they did, with a hard-charging, often unruly governing style that bucked convention, toppled GOP leaders and in many ways set the stage for the rise of Donald Trump.
By some measures, the tea party Republicans have been successful. The “Pledge to America,” a 21- page manifesto drafted by House Republican leadership, outlined the promises. Among them: “stop out of control spending,” ‘’reform Congress” and “end economic uncertainty