Key Dem: Fewer Tea Partiers Will Mean Less Paralyzed Congress Next Year

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Expect more compromise and less paralysis in Congress next year, said Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY), the Democrats’ point man on House elections this fall.

“Whether or not we take the majority back, there will be more Democrats in the House of Representatives after 2012,” Israel said Thursday at a Washington breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. “And I think that the more extreme ideologues who have been about obstruction and paralysis and recklessness will be gone. Which makes me a little more optimistic that compromises can be made and balanced decisions can be effectuated in the next Congress — simply because there will be more Democrats and fewer tea partiers or extremist Republicans.”For all their efforts over the last year, Democrats have failed to break the Republican Party’s hardline anti-tax orthodoxy, which has not only prevented Congress from getting big things done for the economy and the national debt, but has slowed a litany of must-pass bills due to disputes over how to pay for them.

Israel declined to predict whether Republicans would be any more willing to work with the president if they’re unable to oust him from office in the fall. But his pitch was simple: Elect more Democrats to Congress and you’ll see “more compromise, less paralysis.”

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said Wednesday that the tea party is “angry and energized” and will propel Republicans to victory in 2012 as they did in 2010. His remarks came the morning after longtime Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) was ousted by a right-wing primary challenger.

Israel said that the choice in the November elections is between “problem solvers and ideologues” and, more broadly, “solutions versus extremism.”

“If Pete Sessions really believes that what this Congress needs is more ideology and more extremism and more gridlock, then go for it. Go for it. We believe that what Congress needs is more problem solving. More ideas, less ideology; more compromise, less paralysis.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.
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