JETMORE, Kan. — In a cramped meeting room at the county courthouse, US Representative Tim Huelskamp had just finished an update for his constituents when a woman rose. She didn’t really have a question for the congressman, she said, so much as a message.
“I just want to thank you,” she said, “for continually being a thorn in the side.’’
“Keep it up!” a man nearby yelled.
On it went. Huelskamp, a two-term Republican congressman, is known, more than anything else, as a major irritant in Congress — a stubborn, hard-headed opponent of just about everything except bigger budget cuts. He’s so unwilling to compromise that even House Republicans removed him from his high-profile committee assignments.
Huelskamp embodies the new intransigence that has invaded Washington, making it almost impossible to cut deals, bringing the capital to a grinding halt. Polls show many Americans find all the gridlock, debt crises, and brinkmanship frustrating.
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