Tea Party Caucus Leads GOP Charge Against Budget Crisis

The 2010 landslide election saw a revitalized Republican Party win 64 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives on a platform that rejected the fiscal policies of the Democratically controlled 111th Congress.  One attention-grabbing key to this success was a new political force: the Tea Party.

More than a few pundits were skeptical about how this force would play out when it became institutionalized in the new Congress as the “Tea Party Caucus.”  David Kurtz, writing for Talking Points Memo, called it “no small irony” that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R.-Minn.) would form such an “insidery and cocooned” thing as a caucus in connection with a “supposedly grassroots, spontaneous, and defiantly outsidery … movement.”  Juan Williams of Fox News wrote off the caucus for a different reason, noting that “Tea Party freshmen are all about talk radio rhetoric, campaign slogans and reveling in the widespread discontent with American politics.  They have yet to display any capacity to govern.”

Have any of these criticisms proven true?  Thanks to the National Taxpayers Union Foundation’s BillTally “100 Day Report” on Congress, we now have numbers, not just words, to assess what has happened in the House since January and examine the validity of these concerns.

Since 1991, BillTally has analyzed the fiscal impact of every proposed piece of legislation.  The system then matches up legislation with sponsorship records for every lawmaker, showing what would happen to the federal budget if all bills supported by a given member of Congress—regardless of floor votes—instantly became law.  Thus, BillTally offers a unique, by-the-numbers look at Congress’ agenda.

After 100 days, BillTally results show the average Republican would cut a net of $63 billion from the budget and the average Democrat would actually increase the budget by $6.3 billion.  Both are sharp reversals from the same time in 2009, when the typical House GOPer was not backing a net agenda to cut spending, while the average Democrat was backing a much bigger boost in the budget.

Read More at Human Events by Douglas Kellogg, Human Events