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New Caucus Seeks Bipartisan Path to Avert Fiscal Ruin

The kitchen-table caucus of freshman GOPs and Blue Dogs also tries to set a civility example by always putting "president" before Obama.

Bridget Johnson


June 5, 2012 - 3:55 pm
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“We always use the term ‘president’ when Obama is used,” Rigell said. “One day we’ll have a Republican president. It is my hope that in homes of Democrats… that they raise children to say ‘President Jones,’ whomever it may be.”

“We’ve got to pass it on to the next generation and we’re not doing a very good job of that,” he added.

The Republican anticipates Fix Congress Now growth before the August recess, and the caucus already has a website and social media accounts up and running. While Cooper’s bill is No. 1 on the agenda, the caucus members are meeting around that table to chart their path forward.

“You’ve got some very conservative members as part of this caucus, myself included,” Rigell said. “I am convinced that every member of the caucus believes that there is common ground. I don’t know one Democrat that wants this country to go into bankruptcy.”

“We’re not fighting each other, but we’re fighting for common ground,” he added.

Rigell, like the other Republicans in the caucus, was elected in the 2010 midterm GOP rout driven by grass-roots Tea Party activists and conservative anger over early Obama initiatives like the healthcare law. In January, Rigell walked back his earlier support of the Americans for Tax Reform pledge. “I think it’s hurt our country,” he told PJM.

The caucus co-founder’s complaints extend beyond Grover Norquist’s pledge programs, though.

“If I thought this place was OK, I truly wouldn’t be here,” he said.

And what is driving the Tea Party, Rigell said, or activists of any stripe “is Americans know that there is a day of reckoning with this fiscal path that we’re on, and woe be any member of Congress who doesn’t put that at the forefront of their efforts.”

“It’s not just kind of a hard-right Tea Party mindset,” he added. “Democrats and Republicans are saying we can’t stay on this path. Common ground exists. I’m convinced of this.”

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Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.
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