Freshmen Rally Behind Boehner

by Andrew Stiles

House GOP freshman are breaking significantly in support of House Speaker John Boehner’s (R., Ohio) deficit plan ahead of a vote scheduled for Thursday evening. Leadership aides stress that they don’t yet have the votes for passage, but expect to get there. Members leaving a morning conference meeting seemed to concur. One congressman described “about eight or nine” previously undecided members who stood up to announce their support during the meeting, but cautioned, “I don’t like to count chickens before they hatch.”

In particular, freshman members are lining up behind the speaker. Rep. Austin Scott (R., Ga.), president of the GOP freshman class, said reports that new members were rebelling against leadership were simply untrue. “A lot of us feel very good about the speaker’s proposal,” he said. “We’ve kind of been holding our tongues, and for days the people who did not want it to pass have been misrepresenting the facts to the general public. The fact of the matter is the speaker has always had a lot more votes than [they] have been indicating.”

Freshman Rep. Bill Huizenga (R., Mich.), a previously undecided vote, told NRO: “I’m trying to find a way to yes.” As is Rep. Raul Labrador (R., Idaho), who “thinks he knows” how he’ll vote, but isn’t telling anyone. He did, however, praise leadership’s efforts as being fairly persuasive. “They’re making a very compelling argument, that this is the best deal that they can get at this time,” he said.

Following the meeting, a group of about 30 House freshmen gathered in front of the Capitol to announce their support of the plan. “So many of you like to write about our freshman class,” Rep. Sean Duffy (R., Wis.) told a group of reporters. “We’re radical, extreme, uncontrollable. Well, we’re here coming together to support a plan that gets us on a path to fiscal responsibility.”

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R., Ill.) said freshman should be proud of the way they have shaped the discussion in Washington since being sworn into office. “We are winning this debate,” he said. “We’re talking about how much spending to cut, and we’re talking about cutting trillions.”

UPDATE: Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R., Ind.), a previously undecided freshman, has announced his support for the Boehner plan on the House floor. Stutzman voted against the final “budget deal” negotiated in April. In his remarks, he praised the Tea Party for “pushing us up to this point” and dramatically impacting the spending debate in Washington.

“No matter how many times you try to put them down or call them names, The Tea Party Movement and many others that share their views, have had a monumental impact on the debt ceiling debate,” Stutzman said. “Know this:  if left to our own devices, Washington would have completed just another ‘perfunctory’ raising of the debt ceiling or worse—more taxes and more spending.”

Stutzman acknowledged that the plan is far from perfect, but he will support it because “the alternatives are too scary to comprehend.”

The Corner

The one and only.