November 14th, 2010
05:08 PM ET
3 years ago

Newly elected House members try to manage expectations

Washington (CNN) - One by one, incoming House freshmen rolled into a downtown hotel here with luggage in tow and spouses by their sides.

The bright-eyed incoming House members arriving for orientation all said they're looking forward to pushing the ideas they promised on the campaign trail – from reducing spending to repealing health care – but several also tried to manage expectations about how fast they can achieve their goals.

"You can't come in a month or two and solve all the world's problems, but we have to be vigilant and we have to begin that process," said Adam Kinzinger, Republican from Illinois.

"It's important to stress to people we are going to work as hard as we can but this is a long process, it takes time," said Kinzinger, a 32-year old pilot in the Air National Guard.

Republican Tim Scott of South Carolina, elected with strong backing from the Tea Party, agreed.

"We have to make sure we set the expectations for what we're going to be able to accomplish, realizing that we have a bifurcated system where we have Republicans controlling one house," said Scott, who is running for the newly created spot for a freshman representative in the House GOP leadership.

But other Tea Party-affiliated Republicans warned that they won't have much time to prove they mean it when it comes to slicing spending.

Raul Labrador of Idaho said the fact that Democrats run the Senate and the White House will not be viewed as an excuse.

"We have the majority in the House, and at least in the House of Representatives we have to pass something that reduces the debt, reduces the deficit and lowers spending. We have to keep those promises," said Labrador, who beat conservative freshman Democrat Walt Minnick earlier this month.

"They have to follow through, or else they'll be thrown out on the ash heap," said newly elected House Republican Allen West of Florida.

"I don't care if we have to burn the midnight oil on both ends of the candle, we have got to look at the redundancy and duplicitous programs and agencies here in Washington DC, so that we can cut this growth and cut this spending," said West.

Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, who considers himself part of the Tea Party, said that it shouldn't be hard for Republicans to follow through on the movement's ideals.

"It's very clear to me that Republicans believe what the Tea Party believes," he said.

Still, Duncan warned that Republicans won't have much time to deliver.

"If we don't, I think you see the rise of an independent third party," said the Representative-elect.

"But I think they're going to give us a chance and I look forward to working with other Tea Party patriots, congressmen here, who believe in the ideals espoused during the campaign," he said.

Duncan said he plans to take a first step by refusing to take at least 10 percent of the budget allocated to him for his office.

"We're going to give 10 percent back as a minimum and lead by example and I think all congressmen ought to look at that," he said.

Scott of South Carolina, who sits on the House Republicans' 22-member transition team, said he has already identified tens of billions to cut.

For example, he said there is some $20 billion that's set to implement the health care bill that they can withhold. He also talked about cutting $7 billion from the federal budget by reducing federal travel by 50 percent.

"There are a lot of things we can look at," said Scott. "The key is to have a panoramic view of what we're walking into and make decisions."

While the vast majority of newly-elected House members are Republicans, there are some Democrats at orientation.

Terri Sewell is the first African-American woman elected to Congress from Alabama.

She said she is going to urge fellow Democrats to find places to compromise with the new House majority.

"It's going to be more critical than usual that we work across the aisle to get things done. In Alabama, I'm the only Democrat in the whole delegation," said Sewell, who also said it's critical for Democrats to control spending.

Despite her call for a different approach, Sewell said she intends to vote for Nancy Pelosi for House Democratic Leader.

"Listen, Nancy got us to the party. I think we shouldn't abandon those who got us to the party," she said.


Filed under: Congress • House
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. vic nashville tn

    Nov 2nd voter show their frustration its help republicans to win many state assembly also
    Main message attract the voters was cut spending

    Now freshmen focusing on many issues like health care , education, immigration and their ideas in some area crossing the limits it will hurt republicans

    First create Jobs

    November 14, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  2. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Get ready for the bloody nose the Republican will give the tea party folks, get your kleenex boxes out because you're gonna need them as soon as the honeymoon is over.

    November 14, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  3. Dennis

    First on the agenda, cut Social Security benefits that YOU and I paid for.
    Second on the agenda, cut taxes for the RICH that YOU and I WILL pay for.

    Meeting adjourned.

    November 14, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  4. cisco4

    Why not REPEAL their own lovely Federal Health Insurance... And see how it feels to have NO health Insurance in this great country...the USA?

    November 14, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  5. Stoprunning

    This is going to be fun watching these people sell out.

    November 14, 2010 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  6. pkfops

    No excuses and no second chances.

    November 14, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  7. goforit

    They are sounding like politicians already. They are lowering expectations, because the reality won't match the election rhetoric.

    November 14, 2010 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  8. realworld

    "You can't come in a month or two and solve all the world's problems, but we have to be vigilant and we have to begin that process," said Adam Kinzinger, Republican from Illinois. But we did tell the voters we could solve all the country's problems.

    November 14, 2010 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  9. T'sah from Virginia

    "It's important to stress to people we are going to work as hard as we can but this is a long process, it takes time,"

    The same thing President Obama has said and he did keep us out a depression; jobs in the private sectors are coming back; we have Health Care and Financial Reform. How SLOW is slow for the RepubliCAN'Ts??

    The Repubs made the American people believe that President Obama was on the WRONG TRACK and the economy was NOT getting better (which was a LIE); HIRE them, they begged, and we will SOLVE ALL OF THE PROBLEMS!!! But OH, it will TAKE TIME!!!!

    Republicans speak with a FORKED TONGUE!!! As of January 1, 2011, I will be COUNTING DOWN (or UP) every day thereafter as I WAIT for the JOBS to return (And we're NOT going to give RepubliCAN'Ts credit for LAST QUARTER hiring!!!).

    T'sah is OUT of Campaign and N2 Moving America Forward with our Leader, President Obama!!

    November 14, 2010 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  10. Lynn

    "You can't come in a month or two and solve all the world's problems" What hypocrits, that's exactly what the Republicans and Tea Partiers demanded of Obama. Now they backstep, after convincing the electroate they could walk on water. They must remember, in another 2 yrs there's another election and when they are aren't walking on water, they better be wearing life jackets or sink.

    November 14, 2010 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  11. Clwyd

    I hope that they will have the guts to cut social security, cut the taxes for all, cut the military, cut education (No child Left Behind) and do all the things I don't want so it will turn against them! as they hurt our country and the American people.

    November 14, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  12. mary225

    In Georgia, Rep. Tom Price (R) recommended the federal gov. cut a program to save millions of dollars and bad-mouthed anyone who would listen. Too bad the program he wanted to cut already ended months ago. He had no comment when this fact was pointed out to him. Anyway, these folks will more than likely be made fools of when they see how hard cutting will be.

    November 14, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  13. Susan

    I love how the Republicans are looking to attack healthcare first thing. We can't allow everyone to have access to healthcare. Next thing you know, they'll be wanting other luxuries like jobs, food, housing. That blowhard who announced he was turning back 10% of his staffing budget, will he also refuse the healthcare provided?

    November 14, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  14. David M.

    "But I think they're going to give us a chance and I look forward to working with other Tea Party patriots, congressmen here, who believe in the ideals espoused during the campaign," he said.

    A little bit of unsolicited advice sir: Try working with everyone in Congress, not just the Tea Party "patriots", whatever that is. You are there to serve the American people, not just your party. Now get to work!

    November 14, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  15. elidude

    "One by one, incoming House freshmen rolled into a downtown hotel here with luggage in tow and spouses by their sides." Then they went out to dinner with lobby-scum, went shopping for new dresses and shoes, and became the new entrenched politicos. Boy, that took a while!

    November 14, 2010 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |