Leaders of some of the most prominent tea party and conservative-aligned outside groups gathered for a press conference on Wednesday to take a post-GOP-now-controls-the-Senate victory lap. But they also had a much less cheerful message for the new Republican Senate majority: we’re watching you.
They all argued that the GOP gains in the Senate, House, and state legislatures were because candidates ran on tea party principles, even when those candidates weren’t aligned or even were the targets of tea party groups.
“For Republican leaders Speaker in the House John Boehner and presumed-Majority Leader-to-be Mitch McConnell in the Senate I have two words: earn this. Live up to your promises,” said Tea Party Patriots National Coordinator Jenny Beth Martin.
“Repeal Obamacare. Use reconciliation to pass a bill repealing Obamacare. Put it on the president’s desk. Let him veto it and draw a line in the sand,” Martin continued. “Secure the border and block the president’s planned executive amnesty. Maintain the rule of law and prove that we as a country, as we have been for more than two centuries, are a nation of laws and not of men.”
Martin said during the celebrations over Republican victories in the midterms she had “reason for concern” because of a press release from Boehner’s (R-OH) office.
“In this release, Speaker Boehner lays out an agenda for the 114th Congress,” Martin said. “Obamacare is mentioned nowhere. Neither is securing the borders nor blocking the President’s planned executive amnesty.”
“If Obamacare and fighting Obama’s immigration reform plans were purposely omitted, Martin said, “the Speaker needs to make that clear immediately, by issuing a revised release today on the agenda for the next Congress that includes the these important issues,” Martin said.
Later on in the press conference ForAmerica Chairman Brent Bozell made a similar warning when he responded to a question about immigration reform.
“Republicans all campaigned against it. Promises are promises, Bozell said. If they move from their opposition to it, Bozell said, “then they are guilty of it as well but even worse, they will have lied to the constituents that put them into office so I would hope that the president wouldn’t meet but if he does I would expect the Republicans to stand up to him and the first thing they could do is tell the president ‘we’re not going to fund your lawlessness.”
Tea partiers were early supporters of Joni Ernst, the Iowa state senator who won the race for U.S. Senate in Iowa. Ernst was a rare breed of Republican nominee for Senate this past cycle: she had the support of both prominent tea party groups that Martin’s group is aligned with as well as establishment Republicans like Mitt Romney. TPM asked Martin exactly where she expected Ernst to land.
“We’ll keep our eye on every politician in both parties. And we were on the ground and working to get out the vote for Joni Ernst so we hope that she lives up to her promises as we do all of the people that were just elected,” Martin said.