Freshman Tea Party Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) is incensed that Republicans caved in the payroll-tax debate, and is putting the blame squarely on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
“I don’t think there’s a revolt with respect to Speaker Boehner,” Gowdy said Thursday night on Fox’s "Your World With Neil Cavuto." "I think the license tag of the truck that just ran over us has Kentucky license tags. For the life of me, I cannot understand when the Senate is going to find something they care enough about to stand on policy and principle.”
However, House Republicans, led by some freshman representatives who were voted into office on the strength of the Tea Party movement, revolted against the Senate-passed bill, saying the negotiation over a full-year tax cut should happen now.
But the conservative establishment, led by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the Wall Street Journal editorial board and former Bush adviser Karl Rove, turned strongly against House Republicans and said they were botching the politics by picking the wrong fight.
On Thursday, McConnell dropped a lifeline to Boehner, saying publicly that the House should pass the bill if Democrats agreed to name conferees to negotiate the full-year extension early next year.
The bill passed the House Friday morning by unaninimous consent.
“We can blame Speaker Boehner if we want to, but we were fighting an uphill battle,” Gowdy continued. “To have the Senate pass a two-month extension with the number of Republican votes that they got — I’ve taken naps that lasted longer than two months.”
Some have speculated that the payroll tax debate has irreparably harmed Boehner’s Speakership, and that he has lost control of his caucus to a Tea Party faction.
Gowdy did not dispute that notion, and he paused for a few seconds before answering Cavuto’s question as to whether Boehner should maintain his Speakership.
“We didn’t have a comment section to our conference call,” Gowdy said, referring to a Thursday conference call in which Boehner informed Republicans they should concede to the Senate-passed bill. “We typically do, where we can ask questions and register complaints. That wasn’t an option this afternoon. It probably means we’d still be on the phone call, if he’d opened it up to questions.”