John Boehner Plan Detractors: Tea Partiers Who Voted ‘No’

Who’s who among the hard-line Tea Partiers standing between Speaker Boehner and a debt ceiling vote. By David A. Graham.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

Speaker Boehner sent the House home late Thursday night, having failed to get consensus on his budget plan. David A. Graham on the hard-core Tea Partiers he was struggling to turn around.

House Speaker John Boehner whistled the play dead late Thursday night, acknowledging, tacitly at least, that he did not have the votes to push through his debt-ceiling plan. Even after frantically lobbying his caucus throughout the afternoon and evening, too many Republicans held fast in their opposition to his plan. The failure doesn’t just put the economy in a dangerous position: It could be perilous for Boehner’s leadership, too. Who were the votes Boehner and his team struggled to swing? The Daily Beast’s guide to the hard-core holdouts—Tea Partiers led by Reps. Joe Walsh, Michele Bachmann and Jim Jordan, and heavily concentrated in the South and the Sun Belt—the GOP leadership is trying to win over.

Todd Akin

MissouriSecond District

Akin, who represents St. Louis suburbs, was elected in 2000. He’s an engineer and plant manager by profession. He received a perfect 100.0 American Conservative Union rating in 2010, but is seeking to position himself as strongly conservative as he enters a tough GOP primary for the nomination to run for Senate against Claire McCaskill. He’s a member of the House Budget Committee. Akin got into hot water in June when he said, “At the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God and a belief that government should replace God.”

AP Photo

Justin Amash

MichiganThird District

A freshman who represents Grand Rapids, Michigan, Amash is one of the youngest members of Congress. An attorney, he was a member of the Tea Party wave elected in 2010. He serves on the House Budget committee and has named Friedrich Hayek as an idol. In his short tenure, he’s already gained a reputation for bucking his leadership, voting against Republicans more than any other member of his caucus. Despite that reputation, GOP leaders targeted him as a potential flip to yes late in the process.

Michele Bachmann

Minnesota—Sixth District

The Minnesota representative and presidential candidate has announced that she will vote against any plan that raises the debt ceiling. Her position is not entirely logical—the increase is to pay for costs that Congress already authorized, not for future expenditures—but it fits with her Tea Party alignment. The fact that potential 2012 rival Sarah Palin released a statement exhorting the Tea Party faithful to hold the line against Boehner’s plan in the heat of the vote-whipping will likely only stiffen Bachmann’s resolve not to compromise, while Bachmann’s decision to stand strong makes her a high-profile rallying point for Boehner plan opponents.

Paul Broun

Georgia—10th District

Broun, a medical doctor, was elected in 2007 to represent northeastern Georgia. An RSC member with a 100.0 lifetime American Conservative Union rating, Broun has made headlines for suggesting Obama wanted to institute a Marxist dictator and failing to denounce a constituent who asked when someone would shoot the president. His position on the debt ceiling is even more inscrutable: Broun wants to lower  the debt ceiling, perhaps by taking back payments the U.S. has already made.

Francisco Canseco

Texas—23rd District

An attorney and banker, Canseco was elected in 2010 to represent southwestern Texas. He campaigned aligning himself with the Tea Party and calling for the repeal of Obamacare. Canseco voted against Cut, Cap, and Balance because he opposes any increase in the debt ceiling, and opposed the Boehner plan for the same reason.

Jason Chaffetz

Utah—Third District

Chaffetz, who has represented western Salt Lake City since 2009, is one of the staunchest fiscal conservatives on Capitol Hill, although he was a Democrat in college. A younger representative at 44, he sleeps in a cot in his office to save money. A former PR professional and political staffer, Chaffetz has been tacking right as he prepares for a primary challenge to Sen. Orrin Hatch, and he says the Boehner plan doesn’t cut spending far enough.

Jeff Duncan

South Carolina—Third District

A freshman, Duncan represents western South Carolina. His family owns a real-estate marketing firm. He backed Cut, Cap, and Balance, but announced he would vote against the Boehner plan because the cuts in it were too small. “While the Speaker’s plan is well-intentioned, I don’t believe paltry cuts or another commission will bring about the structural reforms that Washington needs and Americans deserve,” he told The State.

Jeff Flake

Arizona—Sixth District 

Elected in 2000 to represent the eastern suburbs of Phoenix, he’s running to fill the Senate seat of retiring GOP incumbent Jon Kyl. He boasts a 100.0 rating from the American Conservative Union and is a longtime fiscal conservative. While his pet issue is opposition to earmarks, he sits on the House Appropriations Committee. A supporter of Cut, Cap, and Balance, Flake opposed the Boehner plan because he said it didn’t cut enough—and in fact would increase spending in the current year.

Trent Franks

Arizona—Second District

A representative from northwestern Arizona and the Phoenix suburbs since 2002, Franks is a strong social conservative with a penchant for outlandish comments—like his assertion that President Obama is an “enemy of humanity” and that blacks were better off during slavery. Children’s issues are a particular focus for him. He flirted with a run against Rep. Jeff Flake for the GOP nomination for Senate in 2012 but decided against it.

Phil Gingrey

Georgia—11th District

The medical doctor represents northwestern Georgia and was elected in 2002. He has typically been a loyal backbencher, and even attacked Rush Limbaugh in defense of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell before walking back his comments under fire from Dittoheads. A backer of Cut, Cap, and Balance, he opposed Boehner’s plan because he felt any proposal must include a balanced-budget amendment.

Louie Gohmert

Texas—First District

Representing northeastern Texas since 2005, Gohmert’s record of odd statements makes Franks look like an amateur. He was behind the debunked “terror baby” controversy and also claimed that Obama backed the creation of a worldwide Muslim caliphate. A former Army lawyer, he has a long track record of voting against spending, including TARP and the economic stimulus, and proposed a year-long income tax holiday in 2008. He’s mused publicly that Obama may have put forth August 2 as a deadline for raising the debt ceiling because he has a birthday party scheduled the following day. Boehner targeted him to flip, but Gohmert emerged from a meeting with the speaker Wednesday evening “bloody and beaten-down” but still a no.

Trey Gowdy

South Carolina—Fourth District

Gowdy, a lawyer, was elected to represent northwestern South Carolina in 2010 after defeating incumbent Republican Bob Inglis in a primary. The former prosecutor was a strong backer of Paul Ryan’s deficit-reduction plan, arguing the GOP simply hadn’t argued its case well enough despite many polls showing opposition. But he’s also shown a willingness to cut his own path, taking an unexpectedly hands-off approach to D.C. governance as head of the subcommittee that oversees it and even contributing articles to arch-liberal Slate. Gowdy—one of the House freshman sleeping in his office to save money—told a local paper that he respected Boehner’s work, but that the plan was not sweeping enough to get his vote.

Tom Graves

Georgia—Ninth District

Graves entered office in 2010 after winning a special election to replace Nathan Deal, who quit to run for governor of Georgia. The business owner represents the northern part of the state and serves on the Appropriations Committee, which his official bio says gives him “a central role in the spending cut debate.” A backer of Cut, Cap, and Balance, he said he didn’t trust the debt-reduction elements of the Boehner plan, saying they failed in the past.

Andy Harris

Maryland—First District

Representing all of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Harris is a freshman and a physician. After running on a platform that included opposition to health-care reform, Harris was the subject of mocking headlines when he was reportedly shocked to learn that his family might experience a gap in its health insurance. He said he would only vote yes on a plan that included a balanced-budget clause.

Tim Huelskamp

Kansas—First District

In his first term, Huelskamp represents most of Kansas, including the state’s west and center. A Ph.D. in political science and agricultural policy, he previously served in the state Senate and is on the House Budget Committee. He opposed the Boehner plan because he wanted a balanced-budget amendment.

Jim Jordan

Ohio—Fourth District

A representative from Mansfield, Ohio, Jordan is the leader of the House’s most fiscally conservative members, the Republican Study Committee (the group is under fire after a staffer lobbied against Boehner’s plan). He’s also a Tea Party idol, seen as a more ideologically pure alternative to Boehner, a fellow Ohioan. That’s made him an unofficial leader of the rebels against the Boehner plan—although he hasn’t publicly acknowledged any role in organizing them. A former state wrestling champion, he studied economics in college and earns a perfect 100.0 rating from the American Conservative Union. The Columbus Dispatch reported Thursday that Boehner might take revenge on Jordan for his revolt by trying to destroy his safe Republican seat during redistricting, although Boehner denied it.

Steve King

Iowa—Fifth District

Elected in 2002 to represent western Iowa, King is one of the loudest—and most outlandish—voices in the Tea Party. His pet issues are immigration and repealing Obamacare, but he’s also an outspoken fiscal conservative and a member of the RSC. He ran a construction company before entering politics. King voted against TARP, the stimulus bill, and an aid package in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Jeff Landry

Louisiana—Third District

A former police officer and veteran of Desert Storm, Landry is an attorney and freshman representative. He told the New Orleans Times-Picayune that he opposed any compromise, adding that simply agreeing to vote on increasing the debt ceiling was compromise enough.

Connie Mack

Florida—14th District

The great-grandson of baseball legend Connie Mack, he has represented a safe Republican seat around Fort Myers, Florida, since 2004, and has long been in favor of spending cuts and a balanced budget amendment. He voted against the Cut, Cap, and Balance plan that passed the House on the grounds that it would have raised the debt ceiling—a move he absolutely rejects.

Mick Mulvaney

South Carolina—Fifth District

A freshman representing north-central South Carolina, Mulvaney got into office by knocking off long-serving Democratic House budget guru John Spratt. The attorney now serves on Spratt’s old Budget Committee, as well as the Joint Economic Committee, and is a member of the Republican Study Committee. A co-author of Cut, Cap, and Balance, he said he didn’t have faith that the speaker’s plan would make a serious dent in the deficit.

Ron Paul

Texas—14th District

Paul, the legendary libertarian iconoclast and repeat presidential candidate from Texas, opposes any increase in the debt ceiling. Unlike some Tea Party politicians who contend that failure to raise the ceiling wouldn’t cause default, the physician contends that default is unpleasant but necessary medicine for the United States.

Dennis Ross

Florida—12th District

A freshman from central Florida, Ross is an attorney. A member of the Republican Study Committee, he trumpeted his willingness to buck GOP leaders while in the state house, but also said he would like to someday join the U.S. House leadership (PDF).

Tim Scott

South Carolina—First District

Scott, a Tea Party superstar and freshman, became the first black Republican to represent South Carolina in more than 100 years when he was elected in 2010, representing Charleston. A staunch opponent of Obamacare and government benefits, he worked as an insurance and real-estate agent. He has pushed to lower the corporate tax rate and reform the tax code. He is a member of the RSC and was also selected as the freshman member of the leadership team. Nonetheless, he is adamant that he’ll vote against the plan.

Steve Southerland

Florida—Second District

A mortician by trade, Southerland represents the Florida panhandle. He was elected in 2010 when he defeated a seven-term incumbent. He’s a member of the RSC, and had already caused some headaches for Boehner before the debt-ceiling impasse. In April, with government shutdown leaning, he spoke up against Boehner during a caucus meeting and demanded steeper cuts than the speaker was planning—a move seen as audacious for so green a legislator.

Eric Connolly

Joe Walsh

Illinois—Eighth District

Walsh is the mouthpiece of the Tea Party freshmen, a former high-school teacher and fundraiser who’s willing to speak his mind on almost any topic. Strongly conservative, he denies global warming and wants entitlement reform. Walsh is another member of the cot caucus of congressmen sleeping in their offices. He wants a balanced-budget amendment as part of ay debt-ceiling deal, but his ability to focus on the debate was challenged Thursday after his ex-wife sued him, alleging he owed $117,000 in child support. Still, while he lags Bachmann in profile and Jordan in experience, he has been the de facto spokesman of the GOP renegades.

Joe Wilson

South Carolina—Second District

Best known for shouting “You lie!” at President Obama during a speech before Congress, Wilson was elected in 2000 to represent southern South Carolina. A real-estate attorney, he is a Tea Partier and member of the RSC. Although he’s stuck with his no vote so far, Wilson is seen as more on the fence than some of the other refuseniks, and he was one of the members hauled into GOP leadership offices Thursday night for arm-twisting.