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April 04, 2011

Tea Party Splits House Republicans Over Budget

John Heilemann notes the Tea Party is causing a major split in the GOP House leadership -- we noted it last week -- which might make John Boehner's reign as House Speaker shorter than he planned.

"Indeed, the specter of a Boehner-­Cantor split over a budget deal was the talk of Washington last week, fueled by the majority leader's conspicuous efforts to put space between himself and the speaker... Now, it's not inconceivable that what was happening here was a classic bit of good cop, bad cop. But given the overt pressure already coming from the tea party and the freshmen, it's not as if another snarling law dog was needed on the beat. A more Machiavellian--and, to my mind, more plausible--explanation is that Cantor is seeking to bolster his credentials with the tea party as a replacement for Boehner should an insurrection arise against him."

Meanwhile, The Hill notes that each of the 87 House Republican freshmen "has been caught between party leadership nudging it toward compromise on one end and anti-spending activists clamoring for a clash on the other... Yet the past weeks have also exposed splinters in the freshman class, showing that the notion of a cohesive bloc is a myth."


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