John Boehner, presumptive Speaker of the House, has vowed to fly commercial planes to and from Washington D.C. Fox News reports Nancy Pelosi used a military jet to fly back and forth from San Francisco due to security issues regarding commercial airlines. Pelosi was offered such a ride because she was second in line to the presidency behind the vice president should anything bad happen. Boehner has declined the offer because he believes the security threat to commercial aviation is no longer present. Should circumstances change, Boehner may still use the plane.
Other politicians who were just elected are trying to come across as being apart from Washington politics as usual. Let’s see how they stack up to Boehner’s move of flying commercially, as he’s done his entire political career.
Texas Republican Congressman Jeb Hensarling is the establishment pick for House Republican Conference Chair when the next Congress convenes in January. Hensarling has been putting forth a conservative spending agenda for years, even before the Tea Party was an established presence in American politics.
Hensarling even stood up to his own party’s spending binges in 2006, when the Republicans last held power in Congress. NPR states if Hensarling is part of the establishment, which Tea Party members loathe, then they will have a hard time fighting against his policies of non-spending.
Michele Bachmann wants to have the job of Conference Chair, fourth most powerful position in the House, when the new Congress convenes. In Washington, she is trying to usurp the establishment leadership. Her website also explains why she wants the position. Bachmann also comes across as someone who listens to her constituents, based upon her statements on the Congresswoman’s website:
“Finally the Democrat’s train of big spending and big government has been stopped in its tracks. Starting in January the majority can focus on reducing the debt, repealing Obamacare, and restoring limited government. But in the meantime, a dangerous agenda could be presented by the Democrats in the lame duck session of Congress….”
Jim DeMint just won his second term as a senator from South Carolina. He wants to bring a vote before his fellow GOP Senators to ban earmarks in the next year of Congress. Other Senators are backing him, including Mark Rubio, Rand Paul, and Pat Toomey.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky disagrees with DeMint’s strategy. He says a budget without earmarks would give Obama a blank check for certain programs. McConnell doesn’t want to give away congressional authority to spend money: “It’s really an argument about discretion.”
Earlier this year, 25 Republicans signed a similar pact, including McConnell, when DeMint demanded an end to earmarks. We’ll see what happens in January.
Wait and See
So far, some new members of Congress are trying to come across as being just as fed up with Washington politics as their constituents. Whether or not they become a part of the machine they vow to fight has yet to be seen.
The first few months in Congress will be a good test for the new Tea Party to see how far their tactics and mandates get. Mainstream Republicans and Democrats stand in their way.
Fox News, “Boehner to Fly Commercial as House Speaker”, FoxNews.com.
NPR News, “National Review: The Anti-Establishment Republicans”, NPR.org.
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, “Lame Duck Agenda”, Bachmann.House.gov.
Congressman Jim DeMint, “Earmark Moratorium Should Be GOP’s Top Priority”, demint.senate.gov.