No recess for tea party on immigration

by
July 1, 2013

The tea party has a message for Republican senators who voted Thursday for the immigration bill and congressmen who might: Welcome home.

Activists are promising to spend the congressional recess reminding lawmakers who support the Gang of Eight legislation what the base is capable of. Think loud town halls, jammed phone lines and primary challenges down the road — echoes of Obamacare three years ago.

“The anger is more intense now than it was in 2010,” said Judson Phillips, founder of Tea Party Nation. “They are more upset about the amnesty bill than they were about Obamacare.”

But conservatives aren’t united against immigration reform the same way they opposed Obamacare. Some tea party and GOP-affiliated groups including Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, American Conservative Union and Faith and Freedom Coalition have expressed support for the Senate’s bill, while acknowledging that the House will have to make some changes. Another group, TheTeaParty.Net, is supporting efforts toward immigration reform, but not the Senate bill, based on concerns of whether how border security provisions will be enforced.

Still, the majority of conservative groups are looking to replicate protests of previous years driven by Obamacare, the 2008 financial bailout, the stimulus bill, cap-and-trade bill and other Obama administration policies, which propelled the Republican House takeover in 2010. But after seeing President Barack Obama win re-election last year and GOP senators negotiate with Democrats, part of what’s driving the tea party is disappointment with the result of their electoral efforts and disenchantment with the Washington crowd.

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