By Kenneth P. Vogel and Marin Cogan
Tea party activists braced for disappointment as negotiations on the debt ceiling finally resulted in a deal Sunday, but sent a clear signal to congressional Republicans that they are in no mood to tolerate compromise and will seek retribution against anyone who has not fully supported their agenda.
They are focused in particular on the fate of the concession they extracted from House Speaker John Boehner in order to get his debt ceiling bill through the House last week – a provision making a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution a prerequisite for raising the debt ceiling again that they regarded as a huge victory.
“If the final bill is passed by establishment Republicans and House Democrats and does not include a balanced budget amendment as a requirement, it will be completely unacceptable and will be seen as a violation of the mandate that the tea party and like-minded people gave Republicans in 2010,” said Ryan Hecker, the leader of a crowd-sourced tea party effort called the Contract from America.
“The tea party didn’t help elect Republicans because they liked Republicans. They elected Republicans to give them a second chance. And if they go moderate on this, then they have ruined their second chance, and there will be a real effort to replace them with those who will stand up for economic conservative values,” said Hecker, who helped conservative House Republicans rally support for the amendment.