As an assistant Republican whip, Palazzo had the task of telling House Speaker John Boehner that some of his colleagues, mostly freshmen, wouldn’t back his debt-reduction plan because it wouldn’t cut spending enough.
So Boehner postponed a vote on the proposal and revised it to appease the conservatives. The proposal narrowly passed the House the next day.
“Hands down, the votes weren’t there,” Palazzo recalled. “By listening and leadership reacting, we made it better.”
Palazzo and the other 86 House Republican freshmen exerted a major influence on the debt-ceiling debate, political experts say, by leveraging their numbers to demand more cost-cutting.
“They have tremendous influence because they hold the Republican Party hostage,” said Stephen Rozman, a political scientist at Tougaloo College in Mississippi.