Deep reductions in domestic and defense spending are set to begin Friday in a process known as sequestration, which will make progress toward the tea party’s goal of shrinking the government. What unfolds over the following months will be a high-stakes test of whether significant cuts in spending will help or hurt the economy — and the Republican Party’s brand…

“This will be the first significant tea party victory in that we got what we set out to do in changing Washington,” said Rep. Tim Huelskamp (Kan.), a tea party Republican elected in 2010…

Some Republicans say it’s risky for GOP lawmakers to celebrate deep spending cuts while warning of their potentially negative consequences.

“It’s going to be difficult for the Republicans as a party in this,” said Tony Fratto, a former adviser to President George W. Bush. “They said the sequester is bad. You can’t say that and then say it’s a good thing, a step in the right direction. It can’t be both bad and good.”