Tea party/conservatives: Shutdown conference a bad idea

Posted by William Douglas on October 1, 2013 

Republicans in the House of Representatives have embraced the idea of engaging in a conference committee with the Democratic-controlled Senate to resolve their budgeting differences that has led to a federal government shutdown.

Tea members and conservatives, not so much.

Shortly after House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and his caucus called for a conference, Michael Needham, CEO of Heritage Action for America, tweeted: "Congress thinking of moving negotiations off cspan and into back room conference cmte? Stupid idea."

"There is skepticism with conference committees among conservatives because it hasn't led to conservative victories," said Dan Holler, a spokesman for Heritage Action for America, the political arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation. "You'd be hard-pressed to find how a conference committee is good for conservatives. We don't necessarily want to go down that road."

Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, said she fears that a House-Senate conference wouldn't be transparent.

"Part of the reason we're against Obamacare in the first place was there were a lot of closed-door meetings instead of business being conducted in the light of day," Martin said. "I've heard the conference meetings would be open to the public. But I've heard that prior to having the meetings there are a lot of back-door deals."

However, Sal Russo, chief strategist for Tea Party Express, said he doesn't have a problem with a House/Senate conference.

"Whatever process it takes to get something done," he said. "We have to find some middle ground to postpone the (Affordable Care Act's) individual mandate."

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