Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) is taking some heat from House Republican leadership because of some of his recent votes. Why? It’s not because his behavior is out of the ordinary — it’s because his votes are pushing other Republican House members from Georgia to slant more to the right.
As of now, Broun is the only declared candiate in the Repubican primary for Georgia’s open Senate seat in 2014. However, his colleages, Reps. Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston, are expected to jump in the race any day now.
Broun, who applies a “4-way test” before he votes on legislation, announced his opposition to the budget in an op-ed at The New York Times earlier this week.
“The latest budget proposal by Representative Paul D. Ryan, called ‘The Path to Prosperity,’ is anything but,” wrote Broun. “It fails to seriously address runaway government spending, the most pressing problem facing our nation.”
He added, “I cannot vote for something that would trick the American people into thinking that Congress is fixing Washington’s spending problem, when in actuality we’d just be allowing it to continue without end.”
While the House budget repeal’s ObamaCare, Broun notes that it leaves the taxes passed as part of the law in place, which is another sticking point for him. Broun instead only voted for the Republican Study Committee’s budget, which was presented as an amendment on Wednesday by Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA).
But this is causing House Republican leadership a headache because of the rightward shift by Gingrey and Kingston and they’re beginning to lash out, as Politico noted late Wednesday evening, before the vote on Ryan’s budget on Thursday:
One of the first signs of trouble was a vote earlier this month on the continuing resolution to keep the government funded beyond March 27. Broun initially told GOP leaders, including Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), he was leaning toward supporting the bill.
But not only did he ultimately vote against the bill, but he also opposed the procedural motion to bring the bill to the floor — a nearly unheard of move by a member of the majority in House politics because it jeopardizes leadership’s control of the floor.
The rush to the right among the Georgians is all too clear. Gingrey is a 10-year veteran of the House, and Kingston has been in Washington for two decades, never causing their leadership much trouble. Now they find themselves as radicals, voting against things like procedural motions — an unpredictable move not welcomed by party leaders.
“Everybody can see what’s going on here,” a veteran GOP lawmaker said.
Kingston, who has not officially entered the race, admitted that Broun’s rightward tilt is changing his voting pattern, but said that is not the only factor in his own conservative shift. He acknowledged that following Broun in voting against procedural bills has gotten under leadership’s skin.
Broun insists that he would have made these same votes whether he was running for Senate or not. Based on what I know about Broun, I’m inclined to believe him. It may be a headache for leadership or his other primary opponents, but perhaps that’s because they’ve been pushing bad legislation or voting the wrong way themselves. This is especially true in Kingston’s case — a guy whose been an appropriator and a serial earmarker during his 20 years in the House. Gingrey isn’t as bad, but he’s had some inconsistancies.
Rep. Tom Price, who is still considering a run for this race, has well-established fiscally conservative credentials and would be along the same line as Broun. The only real difference is that would have a broader appeal in a Republican primary.
But as far as Broun shaking things up a bit, this actually something we should welcome and it’s something that we should hope would happen more regularly.