Rep. Jeff Landry, Louisiana Republican, told The Daily Caller that Vice President Joe Biden should think twice before labeling him and other tea partiers “terrorists” or “hostage-takers.”
He hints that he thinks Biden, President Barack Obama and other Democrats might be more deserving of the label themselves.
“Let’s think about it: In my lifetime, I have created jobs and I have paid taxes in the private sector and I have helped move our economy forward,” Landry remarked.
“What have they done? You’ve still got above 9 percent unemployment, we’re running record deficits and on Tuesday the president signed the largest increase of United States debt in history,” he continued. “Now, you tell me who’s terrorizing the country?”
When TheDC directly asked if he’s saying Obama and the Democratic Party are the real terrorists, Landry replied, “No. I’m not going to engage in political sniping.”
Landry added that he’s pretty sure tea partiers don’t fit any dictionary definition of terrorists. “You look up the definition of terrorist, I don’t know what the exact definition would be: I don’t have Webster’s in front of me,” he said. “But you’d think it would be someone who inflicts harm on another.”
Biden reportedly said during recent debt ceiling negotiations that tea partiers acted like “terrorists.” He has denied making that comment. (RELATED: Obama won debt ceiling fight, says DNC)
Landry says he has also been called “extremist” and “rebellious.”
“Those are some of the nice words they’ve used,” Landry said. “You know they’ve called us terrorists, trolls, hobbits. I mean, I don’t understand why working towards and demanding a balanced budget be sent to the states is an extreme view.
“If we use that analysis, I guess we would say 49 states in this union are extreme because 49 states in this union have enacted some sort of balanced budget amendment,” he added.
Landry was one of the tea party Republican members who met with House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy late into the night several times leading up to the debt ceiling deal. Landry was one of several members who pushed for Boehner to include a balanced budget amendment in his plan.
The speaker eventually put it in his package. Landry’s said he’s not sure if Boehner would have included the amendment if it weren’t for his and a few others’ efforts.
Landry said he believes it’s his job to push for things like a balanced budget amendment, especially when it was a major campaign issue for him in the 2010 election. His first radio ad on the campaign trail laid out his support for one: “I support a balanced budget amendment, reforms to make it harder for the liberal Congress to raise taxes, and I will fight to make it happen,” Landry says in the ad.
The balanced budget amendment, however, didn’t make it into the final debt ceiling deal, which Landry voted against.
Landry continues to support Boehner as speaker, and if he has the opportunity to again, he said he would vote for Boehner to continue in the leadership role.
“My vote against the bill this week was not a vote against Speaker Boehner,” Landry said. “I have a tremendous amount of confidence in Speaker Boehner and I believe he is few among the leadership in Washington who has a tremendous amount of integrity. I can say that for the entire Republican leadership team, more so than I can say that for any of the other leaders in DC. Certainly, he has my support.”
Landry will likely be facing another sitting Republican member of Congress for re-election in 2012, as redistricting in Louisiana combined their districts. Rep. Charles Boustany voted in favor of the final debt ceiling deal, and according to Roll Call, “is seen as close” with Boehner.
Landry though wouldn’t criticize Boustany for his vote in favor of the debt ceiling deal.
“Look, I’m not here to criticize any member’s decision and what they did this week,” Landry said. “He was one of what, 269, other members who voted for it? I’m not interested in getting in a fight with Charles right now over his vote. What I say about his vote would be reflective of all of the others who chose to vote for it.”
In a statement, Boustany said his vote in favor of the debt ceiling deal was the “right thing to do for the people of Louisiana and for America.”