Reps. Granger and Johnson
February 3, 1997
in this forum:
What happened behind the scenes during the Gingrich ethics vote? Are the lobbyists really waiting for your plane to land? How much pressure do you receive from party leaders? How can Congress be bipartisan when the leaders are at each others throats over ethics issues? Should House leader have their own PAC? What is your stand on the balanced budget amendment? Will there be campaign finance reform this session? What has surprised you most about Congress?
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Follow the first year in Congress of Freshmen Reps. Kay Granger (R-TX) and Jay Johnson (D-WI)
A question from Malcolm Farnsworth of Melbourne, Australia:
To those of us who live in countries with Westminster systems of parliamentary government, the existence of tight party discipline is taken for granted. Do the freshmen members believe they have an obligation to support their House leadership at all times? Have they yet experienced a conflict between the localised interests of their congressional districts and their parties' broader national goals?
Rep. Kay Granger responds:
I do not believe that I have to support the House Leadership at all times. My number one priority as a Member of Congress is to represent the people who sent me here, the people of the 12th district of Texas. They have sent me here to work for a balanced budget, save Medicare from bankruptcy, provide tax relief for hardworking American families and restore power to cities, towns and communities. I plan to work hard during the 105th Congress to achieve these goals.
Since I have been recently elected to Congress, I have not yet experienced a conflict between the best interest of my district and that of the Republican Party.
Rep. Jay Johnson responds:
Thanks for the question from across the globe. In fact, one of the differences between the parliamentary system and our system of government here in the U.S. is that there is often NOT the same strong party discipline that your country has. Freshmen members do not feel they are under a loyalty oath to support the party at all times under any circumstances, but most of us do feel an obligation to the party with which we are aligned, and try in party meetings to find a consensus on issues. Since we have not had a lot of votes yet, I would say the freshmen members have yet to feel any pulling attachments between our district loyalties and our party loyalties.