Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said the Tea Party needs to commit to being problem solvers in the new Congress.
On "Face the Nation," Graham was asked about the prospects for bipartisanship come January.
"The House is in revolt," he said of the difficulty of extending the Bush-era tax cuts. "People are pissed off in the House at the estate tax. That's going to carry over a bit."
Graham said big government and spending is on the "run and retreat" but the coming months will test the grassroots movement that helped turn the tide in the midterm election.
"The Tea Party will turn on the Republicans as well as the Democrats, but it's going to be a test of the Tea Party," he said.
"They come up here in large numbers and bring a new energy. I applaud what they did, but they've got to help us solve problems."
Graham said he was hopeful the debt commission is a starting point, from tax reform to considering changes in Social Security and Medicare.
"We're so far in debt we're never going to get out of it unless we look at each other around this table and say it is time to sacrifice," he said.