Tea Party activists speak out on budget battle
People belonging to the Tea Party movement convene at a rally at the Texas state capitol during the first day of the 82nd Legislative session on January 11, 2011 in Austin, Texas.
March 31st, 2011
10:19 AM ET
4 years ago

Tea Party activists speak out on budget battle

Washington (CNN) - No surprise here, but many in the Tea Party movement are furious with a possible budget deal between Democrat and Republican lawmakers in Congress.

And the anger is directed not just at congressional Democrats, but also at some Republican leaders in Congress.

Some of that anger will be visualized at a rally outside the U.S. Capitol scheduled for Thursday afternoon. The gathering is being organized by the Tea Party Patriots, one of the largest national Tea Party groups. That organization's leaders, along with many others in the movement, feel that the proposed budget cuts don't go far enough.

"Members of Congress have abandoned their service to the people by passing continuing resolutions instead of cutting the $100 billion they pledged," said Mark Meckler and Jenny Beth Martin, National Coordinators of the Tea Party Patriots. "Is it lack of leadership? Is it a lack of courage? A real budget will spark a national debate on the role of government, and that's what the American people want."

Conservative House Republicans are among those scheduled to speak at the rally, including Mike Pence of Indiana, Steve King of Iowa and Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, who may soon have a another job description: GOP presidential candidate.

Earlier Thursday the founder of the Tea Party Nation criticized House Speaker John Boehner, who is leading budget negotiations with congressional Democrats and the White House.

"Boehner must go. The Tea Party must unite and make sure Boehner is replaced in the next election. Boehner is living proof of something I have said for a long time. It is not enough that we vote out bad leaders, we must replace them with good leaders," Tea Party nation founder Judson Phillips wrote in an email to supporters. "Getting Nancy Pelosi out of the Speaker's seat was a good thing. Unfortunately, her replacement has not been very good. We need people in leadership who are committed to cutting spending and eliminating these programs."

Boehner responded to the Tea Party criticism and rally Thursday.

"I'm glad that they are here. I am glad that they are engaged in the process," Boehner said at a press conference. "I said over a year ago that we should talk with the Tea Party folks, that we should listen to them and we should walk amongst them and I don't feel any differently about it today."

But Boehner also pointed out the limits of what the House can do, saying "we control one third of one half of the government here in Washington. We can't impose our will on another body. We can't impose our will on the Senate. All we can do is fight for all the spending cuts that we can get an agreement to and spending limitations as well."

Tea Party Nation is the group that organized the first National Tea Party Convention last year in Tennessee, and runs a large social networking site popular with conservative activists.

Funding for the federal government runs out next Friday. If there's no agreement on the budget by April 8, there could be a shutdown of some government services and offices.

A recent national poll indicated that most Tea Party activists are OK with such a shutdown. According to CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released earlier this month, 62 percent of self-described Tea Party supporters say a government shutdown for a few days would be good for the country. That's higher than the 53 percent of Republicans, 35 percent of independent voters and 21 percent of Democrats who said a short term shutdown would be beneficial to the nation.

– CNN's Deirdre Walsh and Gabriella Schwarz contributed to this report

– Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN


Filed under: Budget • Congress • Tea Party movement
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. Tired of the nonsense

    "Boehner must go. The Tea Party must unite and make sure Boehner is replaced in the next election. Boehner is living proof of something I have said for a long time. It is not enough that we vote out bad leaders, we must replace them with good leaders," Tea Party nation founder Judson Phillips wrote in an email to supporters. "Getting Nancy Pelosi out of the Speaker's seat was a good thing. Unfortunately, her replacement has not been very good. We need people in leadership who are committed to cutting spending and eliminating these programs."

    Well, he's right that Boehner has to be voted out because the man is as much a pickled-brained moron as the rest of his bunch (Palin/Limbaugh/Gingrich/Bachman/etc), but to oust Pelosi? That was stupid. She was very good at the job. She cares about America and the American people.

    March 31, 2011 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  2. Irma in North Carolina

    Who wants to listen to the Tea Party Gang. They are nothing but a bunch of racist. We dont need any of the near D.C.. The ones that are there need to get out>

    March 31, 2011 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  3. John in Brooklyn

    Re the first sentence in this article....the word is Democratic, not Democrat. Paul either needs to learn to write and/or stop being shill for the Republicans, who use "Democrat" as an adjective.

    March 31, 2011 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  4. Al-NY,NY

    Can't wait to see this circus.....99% of the signs (when they aren't portraying Obama as H#tler or a monkey) will be against the President and democrats. And the speeches will be the same.....all Obama/Reid and no Mr Weepy and mumbles McConnell

    March 31, 2011 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  5. LA

    Funny thing is, ask a Tea Party member what HE'S willing to give up for the sake of the country and his countrymen, and he'll say, "What's mine is mine." These folks are all nuts. I don't respect one of 'em.

    March 31, 2011 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  6. The Teaparty is Nut's !

    This is exactly why people are getting tired of the teaparty and their favorable number's are plummeting ! Plain and simple their my way or the highway style is turning people off in droves ! Simply put they are dangerous and need to be stopped ! These people have no clue of how a democracy work's ! The majority of Americans are in the center politically , so compromise is often the best course of action because it avoids overreach ! The teaparty will cause the republicans to suffer in 2012 ! It's looking more and more like 2012 will be a great year for the Democrat's !

    March 31, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  7. Debbie from Arizona

    I was very glad to hear that the support for the Tea Party is fading. These folks are pretty extreme, if the people they elected recently are an example. Their new poster child, Michelle Bachmann, is Miss Loony Tunes herself. They seem to want everything their way, no compromise, no negotiations. Their My way, or the highway garbage isn't flying with the majority of Americans and I, for one, am pleased. The way things are going in states, including mine, who elected these so called Tea Party Republicans, will help insure that the Democrats retake the House come 2012 and for that I thank them.

    March 31, 2011 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  8. Rick McDaniel

    The US has to stop the runaway spending,. no matter how painful that gets.

    We need to start, by cutting off all aid to all foreign countries, including outright gifts, and loans.

    March 31, 2011 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  9. FRANK LONGO

    Notice all the minorities in the photo? You say there are none? The me,myself and I crowd are a bunch of Rightwing self cetered I have mine and screw you kind of people. They are complicent in the destruction of the Middle Class. Many yearn for the "good" old days of 100 years ago.

    March 31, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  10. Tony

    The Tea Party is angry...... That's a perpetual state for them. Why is this news? World peace could be rolled out tomorrow and they'd be out picketing it.

    March 31, 2011 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  11. Tony Z

    Can someone just show them what those cuts would really mean? This is the reason why America is falling behind other countries.

    March 31, 2011 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  12. aTeaClown

    Shut it down! Let's see who will be the first to complain when their Social Security checks stop coming and Medicare stops paying their doctor and pharmacy bills. (Don't expect much complaining from the millionaires when their corporate welfare checks are delayed.)

    March 31, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  13. PalmReader

    Ah yes, the TeaParty. Nothing but a bunch of disgruntled GOPers throwing tantrums over wanting less government while adding more government regulations into the lives of common everyday folks all across America. Just look at Wisconsin, Ohio, New Jersey, Florida, South Dakota, Arizona, Texas, Illinois, Montana and you get the picture. Each and every one of these TeaPer hot-spots aren't advocating less government: to the contrary, they are instilling more and more regulations, and taking away more and more personal freedoms and rights. And, when they don't get what they want, they instill fear with their lies and innuendo. Just look at Bachmann & Rand Paul - one cycle of lying after another, courtesy of news organizations that aren't interested in offering truth, but focus instead on the billions in profit needed to satisfy the corporate masters instatiable lust for greed and power.

    March 31, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  14. lgny

    Government is the art of compromise. I believe we should do A, you believe we should do B. Can we sit down to find a point of agreement that may not be perfect for either of us, but addresses each of our needs.

    Sadly, the Tea Party is about ideology, not compromise. It's disappointing to see how they are threatening to run primary challenges against their own representatives just because they did not vote 100% Tea Party.

    March 31, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  15. Obama 2012

    Please just go away. You are irrelevant. You were used so that the Republicans could gain power again, and now you are not needed anymore.

    March 31, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  16. oregonian101

    Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote in the early 1900s: "Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society". To me, the Tea Movement is less than civilized and has lost any credibility in the argument for smaller government and less taxes. If anything they should've rallied for Smarter Government and Wiser Spending.

    March 31, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  17. WillK

    The Tea Party will find out soon enough they do not speak for the majority of Americans. This will become even more evident than recent polls suggest when they shift from fiscal issues to social issues.

    Boehner should tell Judson Phillips he does not need his or his organization's support. He will be easily reelected in any case.

    And who exactly is 'Judson Phillips'? Who elected him to represent anyone? Sure is easy to criticize; less so to actually have to lead and make the necessary decisions.

    March 31, 2011 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  18. Alina77

    Tea Party is the reason why we still in the crap that we are. The Tea Party freshmen in Congress are nothing but pain in the a.... for everybody. The Tea Party Governors even worse, they treating people like they are nothing but waste. They are using crises for liquidating everything that was protecting the middles class. GO AWAY TEA PARTY you are disappointment, and the next time, I have my own brains and you dont have to tell me who to vote for. GO AWAY.

    March 31, 2011 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  19. demogal

    Awwwww! The tea party is angry; boo hoo. They can just get glad in the same britches they got mad in.
    Side note: The mom-and-pop liquor store in my neighborhood has lost a great deal of business (including mine) because of "mom and pop's" affiliation with the tea party. I hear they have definitely toned down their participation.

    March 31, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  20. Fightin' Democrat

    "...and that's what the American people want."

    Congratulations on throwing credibility out the window. Speak for yourselves.

    March 31, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  21. John

    Keep up the good work Tea Party.
    The media isn't doing their job, obviously the house and Senate isn't doing their job – it is time for a watch dog that will help push these people to do the right thing.

    March 31, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  22. Not All Docs Play Golf

    Every time I see one of these photos of Tea Party rallies, I realize how badly our school system has failed to educate our populace.

    March 31, 2011 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  23. chris

    Hummm given that most of these same people are probably on Social Security, I wonder are they giving the okay to cut it along with Medicare? I mean those are pretty much the major entitlements that are really hiking the budget. I say just get rid of it. Heck, I would like the government to stop taking SS out of my paycheck!!

    March 31, 2011 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  24. Randy, San Francisco

    The Tea Party use of storm trooper thugs to enforce discipline among GOP politicians is remininscent of past fascist movements.

    March 31, 2011 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  25. rusty155

    I really don't care what the TEA PARTY want. You are all ready taking people right way, you spread hate and you are Racist and they LIE all the time. And you keep saying you want to take back this Country Back. Who are we taking back from aren't we all American people. What you TEA PARTY people Is give It back too The RICH and make them RICHER.

    March 31, 2011 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
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