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. Zip

    I believe the debt is approaching 14 trillion dollars. The Tea party is arguing for 100 billion dolllars in cuts. That is a drop in the bucket. If the Tea Party wants to be taken seriously, they must call for 10% across the board cuts in Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. Until then, they are no different than the typical politicians.

    March 31, 2011 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  2. Bob in PA

    We need to remove political science as a major from our University’s. As the computer industry likes to say "garbage in, garbage out". These so said public servants don't get it. They think they need to re-engineer society. that society at large cannot survive unless somehow they have their hands in it. We need representatives with real life experience, not utopian dream children.

    March 31, 2011 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  3. mamaw

    You want to cut the budget and bring the government to a stop, fine. Shut the whole damn thing down. You won't have to worry about the grocery store since they will soon run out of food. Nothing will come into the country without inspectors and no meat will be coming in because they can't process it without inspectors there either. There will be no travel without air traffic controllers, no social security since no one will be there to send it out. How many of you want to volunteer to guard and feed prisoners at the prisons? Guards at Federal prisons are federal employees. Need I go on? Try using a little sense. You are like a bunch of two year olds screaming I WANT!! It will take compromise to get us back where we belong and destroying the people's ability to earn a living wage is just going to reduce the amount of taxes brought in. Yes, we do need to get control of spending but we need to use a little common sense. We did't get in this mess overnight and we won't get out of it by cutting the hell out of this year's budget. Like I said, if you want to shut the government down, go for it but shut it all down. Let's see how much congress enjoys doing without their flunkies.

    March 31, 2011 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  4. Beverly - NYC

    Big talk on a government shut down from the tea party folks until the Social Security check isn't paid, or their medicaid paid for power scooter isn't delivered .Why is is that the folks with the most to lose are willing to vote against their interests, just to spite those who do not look like or agree withthem. So go ahead, shut the government down for a few weeks and listen to the howling from the same folks.

    March 31, 2011 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  5. DIANA

    Why are they catering to these nutjobs. They don't speak for the rest of the country. Where were they went the governors decided to take away bargaining rights for the middle class? But I do hope they get Bachman the Republican nomination. The 2012 would be the biggest show on earth!

    March 31, 2011 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  6. julie

    The tea party group wants to cut everything that helps people. Do they not realize that those cuts affect everyone? If you have a family member who loses benefits they are receiving now, who picks up the slack? There family has to or decide to let them die or starve to death or be homeless. There is a trickle down effect to cutting off government benefits even if it doesn't seem to directly affect you personally. You are going to be paying to help someone out one way or another and that means less money for everything to buy things they need so..... welcome to additional economic problems. The tea party strikes me as a very naive group when it comes to the economy.

    March 31, 2011 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  7. oldswede

    The famous National Tea Party Convention. Something like 600 folks showed up. Big Deal, huh?

    March 31, 2011 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  8. Ken, AZ

    There is not one functioning brain among this entire group. They've already pushed themselves into irrellevance. Keep on pushing!

    March 31, 2011 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  9. Itsa

    The tea party IS the Republican party. And their self-coined phrase, 'fiscal conservative', is nothing more than an oxymoron. When have the Republicans EVER not produce a huge deficit?

    March 31, 2011 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  10. Steve

    Correction: only the nut jobs in your faction who do not understand simple economics and governance and represent a very, very small portion of the overall American population want this "debate" on the role of Government. Furthermore, you don’t want a debate you just want your way or the highway. Thankfully, Boehner is showing true leadership in realizing that giving into these unrealistic demands will further hurt the country and that true leadership means working together with the other side and coming up with a reasonable compromise

    March 31, 2011 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  11. Michael

    How DARE the Republicans make a compromise?! Leave it to the radical countrymen that seem to LOVE the constitution, but are apparently uneducated enough to realize they stand against most of its ideals.

    March 31, 2011 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  12. Kevin Cantu

    Wow, sucks to be Boehner........How's that Tea Party agenda working out for you so Mr. Speaker........ROFL.

    March 31, 2011 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  13. Sniffit

    "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."

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA...gasp cough cough cough....HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Oh Johnny Boy, the pipes the pipes are caaaalling....

    March 31, 2011 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  14. Daniel

    Please, please shut down the federal government for just ONE DAY. It will destroy the USA and show how absurd the politics of the Tea Party are. It is a juvenile stunt to score political points, but the economic effects will be felt by the next generation of US children. I want to see the US decline in global economic and political power, and there would be no better way to reduce US power to that of Third World Nation then to shut down the Federal Government. It will only take a day for the Saudis and the Chinese to pull out of US financial markets, leaving the Great Recession as a mere hiccup on our way to collapse.

    March 31, 2011 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  15. Sniffit

    "There was none among the myriads of men that existed who would pity or assist me; and should I feel kindness towards my enemies? No: from that moment I declared everlasting war against the species, and, more than all, against him who had formed me and sent me forth to this insupportable misery."

    -Frankenstein Monster

    March 31, 2011 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  16. Ryche

    Hard to argue with logic... Stop spending money we dont have... Get rid of any GOP who breaks from their promise of large cuts.. and FIRE every democrat who is not serious about spending cuts and wants to keep "spreading the wealth"..

    March 31, 2011 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  17. gord

    are these people all rich or are they getting payed buy the koch brothers

    March 31, 2011 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  18. Josh

    They used the TP to win elections and now they're paying the price. You made a deal with the devil Bohener, and now they've come to collect. Classic Republican mentality, win short term, lose long term.

    March 31, 2011 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  19. Steve Jackson

    The tea-party is making the first tea-party look bad This tea-party is taking America in 180 degree turn back in time under the British rule as they tell us what we can and cannot do we take what ever they give to us and the hell with what we the people want we have no say on anything. Tell me if I am right but doesn't it say THE GOVERNMENT WORKS FOR THE PEOPLE NOT THE PEOPLE WORKS FOR THE GOVERNMENT the government is all rich people and have no working background put them out and get the working person IN office

    March 31, 2011 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  20. leona

    "Washington (CNN) – Nearly half of all Americans have an unfavorable view of the tea party movement"........................that's because the other half of all Americans are getting hand-outs from the government !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ENOUGH.

    March 31, 2011 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  21. bearced

    If the government shuts down they still get their Social Security check don't they.

    March 31, 2011 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  22. Joe The Plumber

    This is about greed not the role of government. These squirrels dont care about a national debate – they just want to keep Uncle Sam out of their pockets no matter who it hurts.

    March 31, 2011 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  23. Len

    We can only blame the people that did not vote in 2010. The tea party folks have no knowledge of economics...they want to cut the deficiet on poor people ....as long as you donot tax us. We deserve what we get.....let us continue to cut education so our country we fall even lower among other countries....we are a untelligient and racist country.

    March 31, 2011 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  24. KatR

    The Tea Party members of Congress are ignorant about governing. All they do is hold rallies and speeches. They rally to replace this one or that one in govt with their promises of a leaner govt. In my opinion they are nothing more than a bunch of anarchists who think governing is like a football game.

    March 31, 2011 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  25. Poser

    In the photo, I see a lot of retired folks who are almost certainly collecting social security, have Medicare, and refuse to cut any defense spending. They still don't realize where the bulk of our federal tax $$'s go and they are a big part of the problem.
    I'm all for balancing the budget but it needs to be based on the reality of the budget and not more of the bumper sticker nonsense these people subscribe to.

    March 31, 2011 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
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