Nightly News | January 04, 2011
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: And as Savannah mentioned, a lot of the freshmen Republicans arriving in Washington rode into town on a tea party wave; and they're determined now to shake things up, beginning with the federal budget. Our report tonight from NBC 's Andrea Mitchell .
ANDREA MITCHELL reporting: Mike Kelly is more used to throwing out the first pitch when the Butler BlueSox take on the Slippery Rock Sliders than arguing over the debt ceiling.
Representative MIKE KELLY: Hey, what a great day we had up in Erie again today where the Ducks , that Wing Ding Dinner and talking about a lot of sporting issues.
MITCHELL: But now the one-time defensive tackle for Notre Dame has left his Chevy dealership behind in Pennsylvania to drive the 269 miles to Washington facing both culture shock and sticker shock.
Rep. KELLY: Can you imagine being maxed out on your credit card, not being able to make any payments on it? You call the bank and say, 'Hey, you know what, I need more money. I want to buy a lot more stuff, just raise the debt ceiling.' You know what that phone call ends up in? 'Cut it in half, send it back.' So I got to tell you, I think we have been so irresponsible with our spending.
MITCHELL: At 62, Kelly is the oldest of the 87 new Republicans . The majority, like Moline , Illinois , pizza shop owner Bobby Schilling ...
Representative BOBBY SCHILLING: See, it's like riding a bike.
MITCHELL: ...elected with tea party support.
Rep. SCHILLING: If you're asking me if I believe that we're taxed enough already, I would say yes. Do I believe in a smaller limited government giving power back to the people? Yes. Less spending? Yes. So I line right up with the tea party folks, yes.
MITCHELL: And what happens when their bottom line collides with the status quo? Right now they've got the energy and the numbers.
Representative DAN LUNGREN (Republican, California): They have a greater opportunity to make change. Just because they are more of them in total, they have a chance to persuade the rest of us .
Rep. KELLY: It's not Washingtonese , it was actually car guys talking so it made it a lot easier.
MITCHELL: But as Mike Kelly moves in today, he says the key is not becoming part of Washington .
Rep. KELLY: I don't want to become isolated. I don't want to get inside this belt and start to think like this is my home. It's not my home. It's just a place I come to work.
MITCHELL: Andrea Mitchell , NBC News, Washington .