(Reuters) - As the U.S. government shutdown sputters on, a particularly outspoken group of Republican Congressmen in the House of Representatives has led the charge against compromise with President Barack Obama and congressional democrats.
They are often lumped together as “Tea Party favorites” for the support they have received from the conservative small government movement. It was named after the Boston Tea Party, a 1773 anti-tax protest by American colonists who dumped tea from East India Company ships into Boston Harbor.
Thanks to heavy coverage of the debates over the shutdown, some of them are becoming better known to the public.
Here are just a few:
Michigan’s Justin Amash has been a thorn in the side of Democrats, but also the Republican Party leadership in Congress, most recently when the second-term libertarian took a stand in the House against the surveillance practices of U.S. intelligence agencies.
Amash, 33, opposed Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner’s measure to raise the debt limit in 2011, and in December 2012. He was pushed off of the House Budget Committee by the leadership in apparent retaliation.
He was then part of an attempt to oust Boehner as speaker, voting instead for Idaho’s Raul Labrador in January 2013.
Amash, a corporate lawyer and the son of Palestinian immigrants, has a 100 percent rating from FreedomWorks, a Tea Party-aligned group in Washington that evaluates lawmakers based on how they vote on some issues.
Campaign Money: The Club for Growth, a well-financed advocacy group for conservative small government causes, has been a major contributor.
In his words: “The number one concern of Americans remains Obamacare. So, it’s something that has to be addressed. And, I can tell you if there was a popular position at my town halls, it’s that Obamacare shouldn’t go forward.” August 18 on CNN’s “State of the Union” program.
Now in his third full term in Congress, Georgia’s Paul Broun is no stranger to stirring up controversy.
He has come under fire for calling evolution and the Big Bang theory “lies straight from the pit of hell,” and for labeling House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi a “domestic enemy of the Constitution.”
Broun said in 2008 that ”the Holy Spirit called me to run for Congress, and has strong support among conservative Christians.
With a 98 percent rating from FreedomWorks, Broun has been a staunch opponent of what he calls “the Obamacare train wreck,” which he said was a “destroyer” and “the flaw of the land.”
Broun, a physician, is the son of a former Democratic state senator from Athens, Georgia.
Campaign Money: Broun’s single largest funder is the conservative Club for Growth, an anti-tax advocacy group that also funds Amash. Another one of his major contributors is Koch Industries, run by the billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
In his words: “This government is out of control. It has become too big and too intrusive. It is spending too much. It is taxing too much. It is regulating too much. It is borrowing too much. And it’s sticking its ugly nose into our business too much. This must stop.” Congressional Record, August 1, 2013
Arizona’s David Schweikert is no fan of raising the U.S. debt ceiling. The second-term congressman who ended an October 1 interview on NPR about the shutdown by calling it “my idea of fun,” introduced a bill last year proposing a constitutional amendment that would force a majority of states to agree before the federal debt could be increased.
Schweikert was re-elected in 2012 by defeating fellow Republican Ben Quayle after redistricting. He was kicked off the House Financial Services committee, underscoring his unpopularity with the Republican leadership.
The former Maricopa County treasurer developed a reputation as a fiscal wonk back in Arizona. But the Washington money game got him into trouble during the second week of the government shutdown, as the website BuzzFeed published an email in which Schweikert asked for campaign money to fight what he called Democrats’ “disappointing” use of the shutdown for political gain.
Schweikert, who was born in a home for unwed mothers in Los Angeles, has a 100 percent rating from Heritage Action, the political wing of the conservative Heritage Foundation run by former Republican Senator Jim DeMint, a Tea Party stalwart.
Campaign Money: Schweikert’s campaigns are supported in part by contributions from Koch Industries and Citizens United.
In his words: “When you have a president, when you have a Democrat party that’s willing to scare the world equity and then the world debt markets, on U.S. sovereign debt, for political gain, I‘m sorry, I don’t know at what point that just really crosses the line of being truly unpatriotic.” October 9, “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” Fox Business Network.
Matt Salmon of Arizona has made waves in the Republican Party’s conservative wing, scoring a 100 percent FreedomWorks rating and a 98 percent grade from Heritage Action.
On the Saturday before the shutdown began, the former lobbyist and chairman of the Arizona Republican Party said the situation was a “win-win all the way around.” He described Republicans’ mood as “ecstatic.”
While this statement was greeted with some surprise, perhaps it shouldn’t have been. In January Salmon said, “it’s about time” for a government shutdown.
The replacement for Jeff Flake, who moved on into the Senate, Salmon was previously in the House of Representatives from 1995 to 2001 - a time that included the last government shutdowns in 1995 and 1996.
Campaign Money: Citizens United, a limited government advocacy group, has been a top supporter.
In his words: “The reason I came to Congress after a 12-year hiatus is because this bill is so oppressive and so hurtful.” September 19
A first-term congressman, Yoho has been perhaps the most outspoken of all House Republicans. which includes Gainesville.
A long-time veterinarian from Florida’s 13th district, Yoho made headlines on October when he told the Washington Post he had no plans to raise the debt ceiling. “You’re seeing the tremor before the tsunami here,” he said.
“I see one side of our government, or two-thirds of it, running 100 miles an hour toward socialism,” he said in the interview, claiming that breaching the debt ceiling “would bring stability to the world markets,” a notion unequivocally rejected by economists, lawmakers, and market watchers.
Yoho, who told National Journal in 2009 that his interest in politics stemmed from the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, arrived in Washington after unseating 12-term congressman Cliff Stearns in a Republican primary.
He upset the party establishment from his first day on Capitol Hill, voting for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor for the speakership instead of Boehner. He has a 79 percent rating from FreedomWorks.
In an interview with Politico last year, Yoho’s wife Carolyn set the stage for her husband’s entry to the national political stage: “He’s not going to be the brightest guy on the Hill, he’s not coming up with the Ryan budget,” she said. “But he’s the right guy for the job and it’s the right time in our lives to go do this.”
Campaign Money: Two of his main supporters in his 2012 race were the American Veterinary Medical Association and Cantor’s political action committee.
In his words: “I ran on not raising the debt ceiling. We will not default. And I think it’s a lot of hype that gets spun in the media.” October 9, Politico
Another relatively new Congressman whose prominence has grown with the shutdown is Georgia’s Tom Graves, elected in 2010. A leader of the fight to defund Obamacare, Graves is ahead of the pack with scores of 95 percent from Heritage Action and 93 percent from FreedomWorks.
He made his political name as an anti-abortion activist in Georgia and served seven years in the Georgia state legislature before running for Congress.
His very first bill in Congress proposed denying funding to Obamacare.
Soon before the shutdown began, Graves said his opposition to the healthcare law “isn’t about the president. It’s about this law and the American people. That’s why we’re willing to do what we can to protect everyone from it, as well as keeping the government operating.”
Graves, the son of a laborer, is a real estate developer
Campaign money: His biggest funder by far has been the Club for Growth.
In his words: “Over the last several weeks, (Democratic Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid has proven to be a skillful political hit man and name caller. He never misses a chance to inject venom into the legislative process. However, he went further than anyone expected today when he rejected our offer to negotiate. From here on out, every minute of this government shutdown is owned solely by Harry Reid.” October 1 statement.
Reporting by Gabriel Debenedetti.; Editing by Fred Barbash and Christopher Wilson