Yet even that bill highlighted internal divisions. Four of the most conservative members, as measured by the Club for Growth, had voted for the bill when it was approved by the House Agriculture Committee, while two voted against it.
Tea party-backed Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., opposed the broad bill in the Agriculture Committee, calling it too expensive. But he backed the disaster measure on the House floor, arguing that it merely provided money the government committed to in a farm bill four years ago.
"With a drought across the country, there are priorities. As conservatives we set our priorities what is important and what is not, and I felt that was part of an obligation," Stutzman said of the disaster aid.
As for Ryan's 2008 votes, he said then that the financial industry bailout would preserve the free enterprise system. On the auto industry rescue, he said his district's economic hardships had been "downright gut-wrenching." Now chairman of the House Budget Committee, Ryan has since criticized both measures, saying the Obama administration misused them.
Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, which often works with tea party groups, said the organization likes Ryan's willingness to propose conservative budgets but has not forgotten his votes on the bailouts and the Medicare prescription drug expansion.
"We've had our disappointments and arguments with Paul over the years," said Kibbe. "He's definitely not perfect. But in presidential politics, there's no such thing as perfect."
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