The dozens of fiscally conservative new House Republicans, most calling themselves Tea Party movement members, should help incoming House Speaker John Boehner curb spending and limit appropriators from inserting earmarks into legislation, according to some of his advisors.
"These new members will bolster Boehner's position," said one key adviser to the GOP leadership. "Not only does he get along with them very well but they think like he does. They want to cut spending and taxes, he wants to cut spending and taxes. Their issue is 'jobs first' and that's been his issue for a year and a half," said the advisor.
What's more, Boehner wants to put curbs on the typical spending practices of appropriators. Even though the GOP is taking charge of the committee, some Republicans fear that subcommittee chairs might spend heavily on their projects, essentially defying Boehner. So conservatives are looking to the new Tea Party members to squeeze the so-called 13 Cardinals to use their chairmanships to cut spending and trim President Obama's budget, not add to it with earmarks and home-grown projects. "They can help him deal with the entrenched culture of the cardinals," said the adviser. [See editorial cartoons about the Tea Party.]
"Having one third of the caucus being new and focused on fiscal issues is a huge benefit to Boehner," said the official.
Their importance to Boehner is backed up by some new polling and analysis by the Winston Group, a GOP polling firm. They found that as the election got near, the issues pushed by the Tea Party became dominant, especially among key independents. They found that independents viewed the Tea Party candidates positively, 53 percent to 39 percent. And it appears that the movement helped to grow the conservative voting block, especially among those focused on the economy.