Policy: Budgets & Deficits

Bruised conservative House Republicans confident they fought the right fight

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Beltway Confidential,Charlie Spiering,House of Representatives,Republican Party,Tea Party,Jon Stewart,Health Care,Debt Ceiling,2012 Elections,2014 Elections,Kathleen Sebelius,Budgets and Deficits,Raul Labrador,Conservatism

Conservative House Republicans appeared satisfied with their stance during the budget fight even as the Senate announced plans for a compromise to raise the debt ceiling and end the government shutdown.

"Any time you try to stand up for the American people, it's worth it," Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, said defiantly when questioned by reporters about the hardline tactics adopted by House conservatives, many of whom were elected in the 2010 Tea Party election that returned Republicans to the majority in the lower chamber.

Labrador was speaking at Conversations with Conservatives, a regular public forum sponsored by the Heritage Foundation in which leading House representatives discuss the news.

Labrador disagreed that House conservatives should have focused on the failed rollout of Obamacare instead of adopting the more aggressive approach of demanding that the controversial health care program either be defunded or at least delayed.

"I've heard that from a lot of moderates in our conference and it makes me laugh every time I hear it," Labrador said, suggesting that the problem-plagued Obamacare web site was actually covered more by the media as the government shutdown continued because it was part of the main story.

"You wouldn't have had Jon Stewart going after Kathleen Sebellius if we didn't have the shutdown," Labrador said, pointing out that members of the media probably would have defended the administration or pushed any critical stories to the back pages.

Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-Calif., explained that the fight was worth it because House conservatives were seen as the only ones standing up for the American people.

"It will be worth it to walk out of this room realizing that we were the only group in this whole entire debate that was fighting for the individuals, families and small businesses, and they will ultimately be the losers in whatever passes," he said.

Mulvaney pointed out that the Senate bill would likely help big corporations, big unions and the political class, while families, individuals and small businesses would get nothing.

The group agreed that the fight kept issues like the national debt and problems with Obamacare in the headlines, which would be good for the 2014 elections.

"In the last election, we didn't fight," Labrador said, referring to the 2012 election. "And now we've shown the American people that we are willing to fight."

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