Tea Party Lawmakers: Can They Deliver?

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Several dozen members in the new House and Senate were elected with strong Tea Party support.

Tea Party activists created the biggest conservative wave to hit Washington since the 1930s. Now they're getting a wary welcome from official Washington, sitting down with the likes of ABC's Diane Sawyer.

"How many of you carry a constitution with you." Sawyer asked eight new representatives on ABC World News, Wednesday.

"I've got mine right here," GOP Rep. Frank Guinta answered.

Some 40 new congressmen and women, and five new senators had strong backing from the Tea Party in the November elections

"We are here to represent and reflect the values of the country," Guinta added later. "And the country has said very directly, stop the spending."

Recent polls show most Americans believe Tea Party legislators will have to compromise on their tough stand to cut back the size and scope of the federal government.

But their aim is to change the capitol's spending culture, starting with an early vote on raising the debt ceiling.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said he will send the same anti-spending message in the Senate as his father Ron Paul does in the House.


"Nobody wants to stop the park rangers from getting their salary or teachers from getting their salary," Rand Paul said. "What we want, though, is not to give up and say, 'Oh, just do whatever you want like it's always been.' All of the new people coming to Washington are going to insist that it changes, and if we raise the debt ceiling, it has to be linked to something."

Tea Party activists hope their lawmakers stay true to the beliefs that founded the movement.

If not, they're already planning to field replacements in 2012.

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John Waage

John Waage

CBN News Sr. Editor

John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN News since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. 

He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.