Ryan calls Tea Party critics 'indispensable' to Republicans

Dec. 15, 2013 at 2:06 PM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Congressional budget hawk Rep. Paul Ryan Sunday downplayed the idea that conservative activists were a distraction for Republican lawmakers.

Ryan, R-Wis., said on "Fox News Sunday" that House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, was speaking out of frustration when he barked at so-called "outside groups" over their sideline sniping about the new budget proposal and denied there was a split developing within the GOP.

"John was frustrated because they came out against our agreement before we even reached an agreement," said Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee. "I was frustrated about that, as well."

"But I see the Tea Party as indispensable, invaluable in helping keep the taxpayer in the game, keep Washington accountable," Ryan said. "

"They helped us get our ship righted again by being fiscally conservative."

Ryan said the fiscal discipline in Congress was holding steady among Republicans and would approve the 2014 budget even though some critics berated it for not going far enough in reducing spending. "We've got two thirds of the House conservatives voting for this," Ryan said. "I think this is a step in the right direction. It's not as far as I want to go, but it's a step in the right direction."

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