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Tim Huelskamp: 'Primary Election More Important than Budget Deal'

by Alex Gauthier, published

In an interview with the New York Times, Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) explained that the closed Republican primary election in 2014 was the main concern for legislators in the House. This is the practical barrier facing the Senate leadership attempt in getting a budget deal passed.

At least one conservative lawmaker has thrown cold water on the deal, as its details emerge, according to the New York Times. “We’ve got a name for it in the House: it’s called the Senate surrender caucus,” Rep. Tim Huelskamp, Kansas Republican, said, according to the Times. “Anybody who would vote for that in the House as Republican would virtually guarantee a primary challenger.”   Mr. Huelskamp was referring to a dynamic in which Republicans who compromise a bit too much — at least for their constituents’ conservative tastes — face an opponent who boasts of credentials that are to the political right of the incumbent.

In a response to Huelskamp's remarks, Independent Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders said,

"I think it speaks for itself... We are seeing a huge amount of suffering in this country today... People are worried about whether or not they're going to get Social Security, Headstart is being impacted. This guy [Huelskamp] says that an attempt to reach a bipartisan agreement between a conservative Republican Mitch McConnell and the Majority Leader Harry Reid is an act of surrender. That should tell every single american what is going on with the extremists in the House of Representatives."

Kansas has a closed primary system. This means that only registered Republicans can vote in their primary. As a result, candidates must win a heavily partisan election before they can be placed on the general election ballot.

Image credit: FreedomWorks

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