ThinkProgress filed this report from a town hall meeting in Riviera Beach, FL.
As the GOP encounters increasing division among its own ranks over the Ryan budget, Republican leaders are openly considering abandoning their plan to end Medicare. Indeed, multiple Republican senators have expressed significant reservations or outright opposition to the plan.
As a result, many on the conservative wing of the Republican Party are speaking out against the GOP leadership’s handling of the issue. One such man is Tea Party favorite Rep. Allen West (R-FL).
ThinkProgress interviewed West prior to his town hall meeting this week in Riviera Beach. We asked the Florida congressman if he was worried about his party’s leadership wavering on the Ryan budget. West noted that while he stands “on [his] own convictions and [his] own principles,” he worried that Republican leaders might not possess the “moral courage” to reform Medicare and Social Security:
KEYES: Shifting gears slightly to the Ryan budget in Congress, there were some reports last week that some of the GOP leaders – Dave Camp – of the House Ways and Means Committee might be backing off, saying he doesn’t want to bring it up. A number of senators were saying that they weren’t wanting to support it, like Senator Portman, Senator Alexander. Are you worried that the leadership might be wavering on this?
WEST: No, I don’t, because I stand on my own convictions and my own principles, and if they don’t have the moral courage to understand that we’re dealing with a very serious situation – look the Medicare trustees report just came out Friday. It said in 2024 it’s over for Medicare and 12 years later it’s over for Social Security. So, we can continue to run around and lie to the American people and tell them the things we think that they want to hear just so we think that we can stay in political power or position, but what does that do for the future legacy of our country? What does that do for my 18 and my 14 year old daughters?
GOP leaders have seen disastrous polling on the plan to end Medicare and the resulting town hall backlash after its passage in the House. They are trying to prevent their party from being electorally crucified on the cross of Ryan’s budget. However, if Tea Party congressmen like West, who were elected in droves last year and paved the way for John Boehner to become Speaker of the House, have their way, it will be extraordinarily difficult for Republican leaders to walk away from the Ryan plan.
At a town hall the following day in Pompano Beach, West was asked about deporting Muslims. While he didn’t agree to that, he did say that “one of the problems we have in this country is that political correctness will end up killing us.” The exchange was captured on Youtube. Watch it: