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
12 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. Biggge

    When is Boehner going to get around to jobs, stop kissing these people behinds ad get to work.....I calling you all out on everything...

    March 31, 2011 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  2. Chas in Iowa

    The "Tea Party" is only as popular with the GOP base because of it's iconic philosophy.
    As soon as they get down to actually discussing what agencies, and departments they are talking about eliminating. A lot of the philosophical discussions will seem somewhat less glamorous.
    Once they realize it is their Social Security that weill be cut or eliminated, it is their Medicare coverage that eill be cut or eliminated. It is the agency that keeps food safe that will be eliminated. It is the department that ensues big business does not contaminate our enviroment in the name of corporate profits that will be cut.

    If these nutcases were allowed to run the country we would be back to living in caves and cooking over fire.

    March 31, 2011 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  3. Pete

    Are any of these people employed? I wish I could go to Washington for rallies AGAINST these idiots, but I have to work.

    March 31, 2011 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  4. Alice Elder

    What is going to happen to the US? We have the paid off politicians representing Big Business, The Tea Party politicians that have not got a clue on how to run a government, Boener that was so gungho on how to be the House Majority Whip, but has not shown too much stamina since he took that position, the fanatic Tea Partiers that blame the Fed government for everything but in reality have no clue and have no money status; they are thefringe fanatics that are the first to grab gimmes from the government coffiers.The Tea partiers usually reside in the poorest of states that need every dime they can grab from the Fed government for social benefits and that includes free medical care. Beats me what citizens are thinking.

    March 31, 2011 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  5. ps

    Hey tea partiers you make up an insignificant 4% of the country's population. Just because you're loud and obnoxious doesn't mean you control the agenda and policies for the other 96% of partiotic Americans.

    Take and seat and learn how to compromise.

    March 31, 2011 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  6. Anonymous

    Become a true 3rd Party then and stop trying to bully and intimidate the other two.

    Had it focused COMPREHENSIVELY on NatDebt Reduction, Deficits, Revenue Shortfalls & Spending [instead of birth certificates and calling the President a "socialist"] they might have support from fiscally conservative LIBERALS and INDEPENDENTS.

    A "My Way or The Highway" approach my feed their EGO but it won`t get results.

    A compromise around reducung DEBT forces controlled spending AND tax increases on all, including the RICH.

    March 31, 2011 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  7. DOCinPA

    “…62 percent of self-described Tea Party supporters say a government shutdown for a few days would be good for the country.” How is that? What, as a ‘time out’ for a child? I fear that these very same folks would be the most vociferous if, say, there were some radiation found in their milk by an independent testing group, because the budget to the E.P.A. was cut. Or, their child did poorly in school because his/her class size was doubled due to budget cuts. And, while we’re at it, would be clamoring for home schooling, even though they themselves couldn’t pass a basic math, readingk or writtingk exam.

    March 31, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  8. 20 per cent of America

    Is not a majority.
    We still like child labor laws, our food being inspected, our environment being protected and our government not intruding on our private medical decisions.

    March 31, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  9. Robert M

    As usual CNN is blaming the Tea Party Activist for wanting to "shut down the government" at least this was the accusation on the morning CNN politics. Nobody, including the Tea Party want to shut down the government, but if that is what it takes to make the Democrats and the Republican leadership get serious about cutting the budget which includes defunding Obamacare then that what must happen. The government has been shut down several times before and it doesn't affect any essential services. For the democrats to act like its going to end the world is ridiculous.

    March 31, 2011 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  10. Johnson

    I Call BS on these people, where were they under George Bush? They need to realize that although there are some cuts that can easily be made, you can't just go around cutting anything or the things that the poop party, I mean tea party doesn't like.

    March 31, 2011 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  11. Ed

    who cares what the tea party thinks anymore sick of them running there mouth on everything we see what there about dictatorship stripping rights of american workers. and reducing SSI

    March 31, 2011 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  12. ja

    did they get rid of earmarks

    March 31, 2011 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  13. Joshua Ludd

    Yeah, if only these folks had bothered with all their protest and bluster when Bush was pushing us into a record debt, expanding government to an unprecedented degree, and starting two wars with no plan to pay for them.. all while helping crash the economy.

    March 31, 2011 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  14. B

    These people are going to put the final nail in the coffin of the economy. They are insisting on cutting the only life left in a recovery for this recession.

    These Idiots are cutting their own throats and do not even understand it..

    March 31, 2011 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  15. John Sharp

    The Tea Party's time has come to go away. I am not happy with either party like most but the nonsensical view point of this group is not helpful nor are their uninformed followers.
    There is a reason they do not like ivy league educated intellectuals. Hard working smart people only make them realize how simple minded their ideas are.

    March 31, 2011 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  16. California Conservative

    It's blatantly clear that democrats and republicans ARE THE PROBLEM.

    March 31, 2011 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  17. Rudy NYC

    E_Extemists in

    Everyone feels overtaxed, is tired of deficits, fed up with Washington's intransigence, and wish we could fix it all, RIGTH NOW. That would be a perfect world, where you could call the shots, and make everyone conform to your point of view and goals.

    We do not live in a perfect world. You cannot make people do what you want in a Democracy. You can make them do what you want in an Empire. Is that the Tea Party's idea of a perfect solution? An Empire that says our way or the highway?

    March 31, 2011 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  18. Dyanisme

    Give me a break! A few hundred people show up in DC, and we're supposed to be impressed? TENS OF THOUSANDS have gathered in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and other states to protest the GOP's union busting and gifts to corporations. Yet, that gets virtually no attention in the media.

    March 31, 2011 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  19. Jsianga

    Tea party fellows come on be realistic.

    March 31, 2011 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  20. jean

    Just look at the people in the picture who represent the tea party. It is obvious that these people are led by propaganda. Many of them are old or overweight. They are shooting themselves in the foot. They do not reflect the millionaires who they are screaming for. Many of them will eventually need social security, medcaid, or health care. By the time they realize how silly they are. Tthe damage policies may already be done. These people represent stupidity at its highest level

    March 31, 2011 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
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