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Republicans back a Republican budget: why that's news

House Republicans are setting aside differences to give the Ryan budget the votes to proceed, despite tea party concerns. In the Senate, however, it will be dead on arrival.

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Some tea party-backed House members “seem to have been, I guess for a word, co-opted, into the old Republican mentality which is not significantly different than the Democrats’ mentality,” says Charles Grose, a member of the Berks County Patriots in Redding, Penn. "They’re both going where I don’t want to be.”

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"They need to stand more to conservative principles and not think that’s so much [about] compromising because I think the compromising weighs down the conservative message,” adds Darlene Resnick of Timonium, Md., who first got engaged in politics at a tea party rally in Washington in 2009.

Ms. Resnick’s harder-line preference is one that many conservative members of Congress say they understand.

“We have spent over a year now in the majority, most of the time trying to hit a [budget] target that we thought might be a level the Senate would [accept],” said Rep. Louie Gohmert (R) of Texas, in comments to reporters last week. “That’s not who we are. Who we are is we are supposed to pass what we believe in and let the Senate pass what they believe in and it goes to conference. At the next election, we say, ‘Here’s what we believe in, here’s what they believe in, who do you want in charge?’”

Not all House conservatives or tea party-backed freshmen are nervously chomping their nails over voter reaction to their efforts for fiscal restraint. On the budget, Representative Goemert’s prescription is exactly what some conservative freshmen say they’ve done.

“I feel that we’ve done about as much as we can," says freshman Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R) of South Carolina. "Keep in mind, the freshman class is not any more conservative than the overall conference." 

Moreover, the fact that conservatives were able to pull the House budget resolution to the right gives lawmakers like Congressman Mulvaney something to take back to constituents.

“The simple fact that a small group of conservatives in the freshman class, along with some of the folk who have been here a while, have been able to move the needle a little bit to the right – I’m happy with that,” Mulvaney says. “We’ve moved it a good bit, especially in this last budget, and I think that’s a success.”

Sympathy for Mulvaney’s point of view was evident among tea party activists on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

"The [members] we put in there from the tea party are trying to do the right thing,” said Bill Bullers, a retiree from Johnsonburg, Pa. “But they’re still outnumbered. We’re still going to try to change it again this year.”

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