KELLER -- Hours after the Dow Jones industrial average closed down more than 600 points Monday, U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Lewisville, heard from local conservatives who were unhappy that he supported legislation that many believed led to the calamitous day on Wall Street.
Burgess was one of seven Texas Republicans in the House to vote for the landmark deal that raised the country's debt ceiling by $2 trillion while cutting more than that in public spending.
As Burgess told about 100 people at a NE Tarrant Tea Party meeting, he didn't like the deal but thought supporting it was the right thing to do under the circumstances.
"I came to the conclusion that my country was more important than me, and if this meant I wasn't successful in running for re-election, I could not veer into that unknown territory of going past Aug. 2 without a resolution," Burgess said.
Never miss a local story.
Many Tea Party activists view the deal as an instance of Republicans acquiescing too early. When one attendee asked who in the room disagreed with Burgess' decision to support the bill, nearly everyone put a hand in the air.
Mitchell Monis of Keller called the deal "a joke" and told Burgess that he was very disappointed by his decision to support it.
"You caved," Monis said.
Burgess said the recent U.S. debt downgrade by Standard & Poor's made him more certain that supporting the deal was the right thing to do, because the fallout could have been worse.
"I didn't want the country to go through what it is going through right now," Burgess said. "It's not the president's downgrade. The downgrade affected the whole country."
When asked whether he would vote for another increase in the debt limit, Burgess said, "No," adding that he believed both chambers of Congress could instead move forward a balanced-budget amendment.
When one attendee suggested that the House push for impeachment proceedings against President Obama to obstruct the president from pushing his agenda, Burgess was receptive.
"It needs to happen, and I agree with you it would tie things up," Burgess said. "No question about that."
When asked about the comment later, Burgess said he wasn't sure whether the proper charges to bring up articles of impeachment against Obama were there, but he didn't rule out pursuing such a course.
"We need to tie things up," Burgess said. "The longer we allow the damage to continue unchecked, the worse things are going to be for us."
Aman Batheja, 817-390-7695