The Tea Party may be losing steam and the GOP continuing to find itself in disarray but newly elected Arkansas Republican Rep. Tom Cotton won’t be deterred from his desire to make a change in Washington.
“As I watched the drift in Washington, during the first two years of the Obama administration, I thought again we face a perilous moment,” Cotton told NBC’s Chuck Todd while appearing on The Daily Rundown. “This time it’s the debt crisis.”
Cotton, a Harvard graduate, and Army veteran, won the vacant seat in Arkansas’ 4th district after the retirement of incumbent Democrat Mike Ross. He won the primary by 20 points with support from the Club for Growth, an advocacy group focused on economic and tax issues.
“When our incumbent congressman announced his retirement I thought that I could perhaps provide some of that leadership here in Washington,” Cotton said. “I wanted to come to Washington and fight for the same freedoms here that I did in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
The congressman quickly became a part of what Politico dubbed the “hell no caucus” but insists that won’t be his primary role.
“I don’t think that will be my role in the Republican conference but I think the Congress as a whole must say a “hell no” to Barack Obama a little bit more,” Cotton said.
Todd asked why Republican congressional members should say no to the president after he easily won a second term in office. Cotton insisted that it’s not about politics but about policy. He remained adamant that Washington’s problems stemmed from “too much spending and too little growth,” insisting that Congress needs a pro-growth solution.
“To get the country back to a balanced budget and to get the economy growing, we don’t need to increase taxes further,” Cotton said. “What we need to do is reduce our spending and enact pro-growth policies to get economic growth back up to three or four percent.”
Stressing his concerns about the upcoming debt ceiling showdown, Cotton said, “We can prioritize payments on a monthly basis to ensure there’s no default [on the sovereign debt] and then we can have the hard negotiations necessary to get spending back under control.”
Cotton is open to compromise as the new Congress begins its first month in office and is especially looking forward to working alongside fellow freshman, Senator Elizabeth Warren, his most “rigorous professor” at Harvard. Mentioning Bill Clinton’s compromises on welfare reform and the balanced budget agreement, he argued that Obama hasn’t acted like his previous predecessors and that needs to change.