Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, isn’t wasting any time. Minutes after the House passed a controversial omnibus spending bill, she tweeted: “Speaker Boehner & House GOP leadership have found a way to needlessly squander political capital, after being handed a historic majority.”
The bill, literally crafted behind closed doors in cigar smoke-filled rooms by a handful of legislators and staffers, fully funds President Obama’s unconstitutional executive actions granting amnesty to illegal aliens.
The House of Representatives passed the 1,700-plus page, $1 trillion-plus CR-Omnibus budget bill by a 219 to 206 margin late Thursday night, barely two hours before the clock struck midnight and the federal government would have shut down.
Only 162 Republicans voted for the bill, while 67 opposed it. The bill passed because 57 Democrats — encouraged by Obama and Vice President Joe Biden — crossed the aisle to vote yes.
Tea Party reaction to the vote was uniformly negative and defiant.
“Rather than negotiate & govern from a position of strength & defend the Constitution against a lawless autocrat,” Martin continued, “he has punted on 1st down.”
“It’s shameful, it’s senseless, and it will be remembered,” Martin concluded.
Remembering which Republican members of the House voted for the bill in 2016 is exactly what conservative icon Richard Viguerie had in mind when he tersely tweeted out moments after the bill passed: “target list for 2016 Republican primaries to be found in this roll call YES vote = Primary challenge.”
With 162 YES votes, Viguerie is suggesting a very large list of incumbent Republican targets. But Tea Party activists around the country already appear up to undertaking the challenge.
Ben Cunningham of the Nashville Tea Party summarized the sentiment among the thousands of local Tea Party groups around the country. “I am not sure why we ever expected any different behavior from ‘establishment Republicans,'” Cunningham told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview.
“It seems ridiculously naive with just a minimum of retrospection,” Cunningham remarked.
“Power always takes precedence over principle and it always will,” Cunningham noted. “The question now is this: will we simply be assimilated like all the other activist groups that came before, adjusting to ‘reality’ and being ‘pragmatic,’ or will we resolve to take back our stolen birthright of a Constitutional Republic?”
One last minute rider in particular–a provision that would effectively raise the amount that high net-worth donors can contribute to political party committees from $97,250 to $777,600–raised the ire of Tea Party groups and conservative Super-PACs on the right and public interest groups and Super-PACS on the left alike. They correctly concluded the rider would give the Republican and Democrat Party establishments huge advantages in battles with primary challengers to incumbents.
The very existence of the rider in the legislation was not known until after the full bill was posted online late Tuesday. By Wednesday, conservative talk radio host Mark Levin sounded the alarm on his syndicated program.
By Thursday morning, Tea Party groups and activists around the country were in full attack mode, hitting hard against the bill on all fronts–opposing the amnesty funding, the pork laden riders, and the campaign finance rider.
Among those Tea Party Republicans who voted against the CR-Omnibus were retiring Representative Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), Representative Steve King (R-IA), Representative Justin Amash (R-MI), and Representative Scott DesJarlais (R-TN.)
Senator-elect Tom Cotton (R-AR) cast one of his final votes as a member of the House in opposition to the CR-Omnibus.
Newly elected Representative Dave Brat (R-VA), who also won an election to fill out the term of the establishment Republican he upset in the June Republican primary, former Representative Eric Cantor (R-VA), cast one of his first votes as a member of Congress against the bill.
The bill now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass some time next week.