Tea Party calls for "fiscal sanity" in Washington

By Steve Holland and Thomas Ferraro

WASHINGTON (BestGrowthStock) – Tea Party-backed Republicans who won at congressional elections on Tuesday vowed to bring their uncompromising politics to the debate over government spending and deficits.

The emerging Tea Party bloc could prove to be a headache to both Democrats and Republicans in the Congress next year and complicate any attempts by the two parties to reach across the aisle for compromise.

Republicans Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky were high-profile entries to the Tea Party club in winning Senate races in their home states.

Paul promised to wave the Tea Party banner in Washington.

“There’s a Tea Party tidal wave and we’re sending a message to them. It’s a message that I will carry with me on day one. It’s a message of fiscal sanity. It’s a message of limited — limited constitutional government and balanced budgets,” he said in his victory speech.

Rubio had a message for the Republican Party.

“We make a grave mistake if we believe that tonight these results are somehow an embrace of the Republican Party,” he said in his victory speech. “What they are is a second chance, a second chance for Republicans to be what they said they were going to be, not so long ago.”

He added, “Our nation is headed in the wrong direction, and both parties are to blame.”

The Tea Party is a loosely organized group of voters angry at government spending, taxes and deficits. Tea Party adherents have a libertarian streak and are unhappy with mainstream Republican policies they believe contributed to a growing government influence in American lives.

Tea Partiers would like to repeal President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul. Some backers have spoken of eliminating the departments of Education and Energy and privatizing the Social Security system. Paul himself has been a strong critic of the power of the Federal Reserve Board.

DEFICIT DEBATE

With a U.S. deficit commission expected to issue its recommendations in December on how to cut spending and deficits, the Tea Party could provide a powerful voice in the debate.

“We are in the midst of a debt crisis, and the American people want to know why we have to balance our budget (in Kentucky) and they don’t (in Washington),” said Paul.

Upset with President Barack Obama and his Democrats, Tea Party backers have largely supported Republicans even though they feel the Republican Party abandoned its conservative principles.

Many Republicans want to placate the Tea Party to prevent it from splitting off and becoming a third political party.

Dan Ripp of Bradley Woods, a private firm that tracks Washington for institutional investors, said the Tea Party has been on target in gauging the mood of Americans.

“They accurately tapped into the anger over lackluster growth, unemployment, and runaway government spending,” he said. “The significance is that when the dust settles the country will have been pulled decidedly to the right.”

The Tea Party counts former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, a potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate, as its most high profile booster.

Palin angered the Republican establishment by backing Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell in a Delaware Senate race that O’Donnell went on to lose on Tuesday.

Palin said it is time for the two sides to patch up their differences.

“And I think that it will work because there’s a common mission here with Tea Party Americans and with the GOP establishment. The desire is for a smaller, smarter government,” she told Fox News.

South Carolina Republican Senator Jim DeMint, who has been a prime backer of the Tea Party, was skeptical about the prospects of finding common ground with Democrats.

“The big problem we have in Washington right now is the Democrats are so tied into union bosses and some special interests, they cannot move back to the center,” he told CNN. “They can’t work with us. I mean, we can’t work together on ideas of how to cut the budget, how to cut spending.”

(Editing by Simon Denyer and Tim Dobbyn)

Tea Party calls for "fiscal sanity" in Washington