Tea Party freshman Gardner votes with Dems to keep government running

U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner.

The Colorado delegation in Washington voted five in favor and two against the stopgap budget passed by the House Tuesday. It was the second temporary fix to the budget passed in the last few weeks and it is even less popular than the first one among Tea Party conservatives, who believe Republicans should hold steady and risk a government shutdown to force compromise from Democrats on spending. House Majority Leader Boehner lost more than fifty conservative votes and had to lean on Democrats to help him pass the measure.

Republican freshman Cory Gardner (CO4) joined Republican Mike Coffman (CO6) and the three Democrats– Diana DeGette (CO1), Ed Perlmutter (CO7) and Jared Polis (CO2)– in voting to keep the government running. Republican freshman Scott Tipton (CO3) and Republican Doug Lamborn (CO5) voted no on the proposal.

The biggest surprise in the delegation voting, perhaps, is Gardner’s yes vote. Gardner campaigned from Tea Party rally to Tea Party rally all of last year, promising above all else to “rein in out of control government spending.”

Conservatives who voted against the stopgap, including roughly 20 freshmen who campaigned on the same themes Gardner campaigned on, say voters sent them to Washington to end “business as usual,” where government functions on a sort of autopilot regardless of which party controls Capitol Hill. They say they already passed a budget bill that slashed $61 billion and that the fate of the government lies with the Senate.

Tea Party caucus head Michelle Bachmann, the controversial Minnesota representative, for one, has been decrying the stopgap measures. She told Republicans that right now is “our mice and men moment” and that it’s worth “drawing a line in the sand” to “defund” Planned Parenthood and “Obamacare.”

Florida freshman Allen West told Politico that voting for the stopgaps isn’t playing well back home and that constituents “are tired of half-measures.”

The final vote tally was 271 to 158. Yay votes included those cast by 186 Republicans and 85 Democrats. Nay votes were cast by 54 Republicans and 104 Democrats.

Far short of the $61 billion slasher passed by the House majority last month, the stopgap bill passed Tuesday nevertheless cut $6 billion. It will keep the government running through the first week of April. If it passes, the larger budget would fund the government through September, the end of the fiscal year.

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