Virginia tea partiers are growing increasingly frustrated with the man they hoped would be their strongest advocate in Washington.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) joined the majority of his congressional colleagues last month in voting down a tea party-backed amendment to make deep across-the-board cuts to non-discretionary spending in the budget. For some tea partiers in his home state, it was heresy.
“We are extremely disappointed in Eric Cantor, but not surprised,” said Mark K. Lloyd, chairman of the Virginia Tea Party Patriot Federation. “The will of the American people was pretty clear in November — cut, cut, cut spending. Apparently, Eric Cantor’s ‘conversion’ to fiscal restraint was only temporary.”
Some tea partiers have drawn a clear line in the sand for Republican lawmakers: vote for every proposal to cut spending, or risk alienating their base.
“It’s hard for us to understand why there’s a vote against any amendment,” Susan Lascolette, a member of the Richmond Tea Party, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “We want to see a yes vote on all cuts. To us, it seems like a no-brainer. Why would you not vote for that?”
It’s not the first time the Virginia tea party has become frustrated with its legislative representatives. Earlier this year, tea partiers roamed the halls of the Virginia statehouse in Richmond each day of the General Assembly’s 47-day session, pushing for passage of 10 conservative bills. Just one of those bills passed.
But some tea partiers expect greater influence in the future, noting that the movement is still quite new.
“Did we get everything we wanted? No,” Lloyd told the Post after the state legislative session concluded on Feb. 27. “But what I tell people is, we’re a movement that’s just two years old.”