Tea Party lawmaker: Payroll-tax-cut fight our ‘Braveheart moment’

A member of the House Tea Party caucus said Republicans are rallying behind Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in the payroll tax cut standoff, calling him “William Wallace” in their "'Braveheart' moment.”

Speaking Monday on Fox News, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) suggested contrary to reports that the Tea Party wing of the party is forcing Boehner’s hand, his colleagues are actually rallying to defend the Speaker of the House.

ADVERTISEMENT
“I’ve got a flight out of [Georgia] in about two hours. We’re all coming back, that’s what everybody told Speaker Boehner on the conference call Saturday when we heard about this fiasco of a two-month extension voted on by the Senate,” Gingrey said. “We were literally shocked.”

“Out of 75 responses, there may have been one person that thought it was OK that we would put the fight off until two months from now,” he continued. “Everybody else said, 'Look, this is a 'Braveheart' moment. You, Mr. Speaker, are our William Wallace. Let’s rush to the fight. Get us back to Washington, let’s get to our work and we’re doing that.' "

Last week, Republicans and Democrats brokered a deal that overwhelmingly passed the Senate; it would extend the payroll tax cut two months. Lawmakers had been unable to agree on how to pay for a yearlong extension.

Boehner said Sunday that the Senate compromise did not have the support of rank-and-file House Republicans.

Democrats and White House officials are saying that Boehner is beholden to Tea Party Republicans, who are forcing him to back away from the Senate-passed legislation.

Gingrey said that’s not the case, and he doesn’t know why the Senate would’ve thought that House Republicans could have supported the bipartisan bill.

“I’m scratching my head and I don’t know,” he said. “Maybe [the Senate] got the false impression that the Speaker and the House would be OK with this, but we are absolutely not OK. We passed a bill for a full year on the unemployment issue and on the payroll tax issue.”