Tea party vs. old guard in Senate GOP rift

ANDREW TAYLOR and CHARLES BABINGTON
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FILE - In this Feb. 7, 2013, file photo, Senate Armed Services Committee member Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., right, questions Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, on Capitol Hill in Washington. The committee's ranking Republican Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla. listens at left. A long-simmering feud in the Senate between establishment Republicans and tea partyers breaks into full view, with McCain accusing younger colleagues of overplaying their hands and tempting Democrats to change Senate rules that protect the minority party. How to deal with the budget and debt become the latest quarrel in a string of them between McCain _ sometimes joined by other traditionalist Republicans _ and brash, tea party-champions such as Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A long-simmering feud between establishment Republicans and tea partyers is in full view again with Sen. John McCain accusing younger colleagues of using tactics that might tempt Democrats to change Senate rules that now protect the minority party.

How to deal with the government's debt and spending became the latest quarrel between the GOP's 2008 presidential candidate and tea party champions such as Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah.

Cruz and Lee expressed fears Thursday that Republicans might give up their ability to use a filibuster to wrest more spending cuts from Democrats and President Barack Obama.

McCain said Americans expect Congress — even though divided — to accomplish things through compromise.