Politico has a piece worth reading this morning about Georgia’s Tom Graves as a reflection both of the new, tea party-infused, independent streak of many freshman GOP members of the House and of the problems Speaker John Boehner has had in keeping his caucus in line.
The story comes on the heels of the AJC Political Insider’s reports that Bob Barr is considering a primary race against Graves. But, given Barr’s switch to the Libertarian Party (he would run against Graves as a Republican) and his outspokenness against a number of GOP actions, I doubt he would make for a more compliant representative of Georgia’s soon-to-be 14th Congressional District.
The whole piece about Graves is worth reading, both for the local interest and the broader intrigue about whether Boehner can hold things together. But, agree or disagree with Graves, this statement of his toward the end of the Politico story sounds like what a lot of people say they want from their representatives in Washington:
Graves describes his voting decisions this way: “I make decisions as if I’m not coming back. I’m casting votes in the purest form I can with no assumptions of gaming out the political future, and I think as more members make more decisions like that, we will drive towards better policies.”
Wyoming Rep. Cynthia Lummis, a member of the Appropriations Committee, declined to discuss Graves’s standing inside the panel, but she did note that House GOP freshmen, and their conservative upper-class allies, are having a huge impact on the culture of the institution, including the committee.
“The culture around here is changing,” Lummis said. “And with change comes angst.”
After a decade of overspending, chances are good that any “cultural change” on the House Appropriations Committee will be for the better.
– By Kyle Wingfield