Budget deal doesn't thrill some in the Tea Party movement
April 9th, 2011
12:10 PM ET
12 years ago

Budget deal doesn't thrill some in the Tea Party movement

Washington (CNN) - Some leading national Tea Party organizations are anything but happy with Friday night's deal on the budget that prevented a federal government shutdown.

A spokesman for the Tea Party Express tells CNN the group isn't "very impressed" with the budget deal and says the agreement proves the Tea Party has a lot more work to do to make deeper cuts in the federal budget.

"According to the Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. budget deficit in the first six months of the current fiscal year totaled $830 billion. So you can imagine we're not very impressed by a deal that cuts an almost trivial $38 billion," says Tea Party Express spokesman Levi Russell. "It just shows that the Tea Party has a lot more work to do in ousting the spending-addicted liberal Democrats who refuse to stop acting like selfish children incapable of making the tough decisions voters have demanded."

Tea Party Express, one of the most well known and politically active national tea party organizations, is teaming up with CNN for a first of its kind Tea Party debate featuring GOP presidential candidates and scheduled for early September in Tampa, Florida, the city that's hosting the 2012 Republican National Convention.

While the Friday night agreement will avert a government shutdown by funding the federal government for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year, major showdowns over raising the government's debt ceiling and hammering out a budget for the 2012 fiscal year are looming.

"The Tea Party has a lot more work to do, and we're focused on 2012 more than ever," adds Russell.

A similar message comes from FreedomWorks, a nonprofit conservative organization based in the nation's capital that helps train volunteer activists, has provided much of the organization behind the Tea Party movement, and which supports conservative candidates in Republican primary and general election contests.

Adam Brandon, a spokesman for the group, says the just-concluded budget fight is only a preview for the real battles ahead. He tells CNN, "The battle lines are clearly being drawn, and it's up to the Republicans to make the tough spending cuts."

Brandon adds that the deal to avert a shutdown illustrates the Tea Party movement's influence, saying, "The conversation's turned from whether to cut to how much to cut."

While there was talk of the battles to come, there's also more disappointment with the deal.

Mark Meckler, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots tells CNN, "In February the government incurred a historic high $233 Billion deficit. Last night, at best, they agreed to cut $38.5 billion in spending over the next six months. Are we disappointed? We think those numbers speak for themselves. This country needs bold and visionary leadership, something that seems sorely lacking in those 'leading' today. The fight will continue in the days and months ahead, and Tea Party Patriots is in it for the long haul."

Asked if the group might urge members of Congress to vote no, Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin tells CNN, "We won't make any calls for action before Monday. As always, we need to consult with our local coordinators."

And Rep. Michele Bachmann says the agreement "is a disappointment for me and for millions of Americans who expected $100 billion in cuts."

The Minnesota Republican, who is chair of the House Tea Party caucus and is seriously considering a run for the GOP presidential nomination, adds that, "Sadly, we're missing the mandate given us by voters last November, and for that reason I voted against the Continuing Resolution."

More dissent comes from Judson Phillips, head of the Tea Party Nation, the group that last year put on the first national Tea Party convention.

Phillips, who has been very critical recently of House Speaker John Boehner's actions when it comes to the budget, asks in an email to supporters, "Can someone please tell me how this is anything other than John Boehner hauling up the white flag because he is unwilling to fight? Can anyone please tell me how this is anything but a complete victory for the liberal Democrats, who want to keep spending this country into bankruptcy and poverty?"

While most recent polls indicated that a majority of Americans wanted congressional lawmakers to compromise rather than to stick to their guns on the budget, even it if meant a government shutdown, the same surveys indicate a partisan divide.

An NBC/Wall Street Journal released Wednesday indicated that 68 percent of Democrats said they want Democratic leaders in Congress to make compromises in the current budget battle, with 56 percent of Republicans, and 68 percent of self-described Tea Party supporters, wanting GOP lawmakers to stick to their positions, even if it leads to a shutdown.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN

soundoff (113 Responses)
  1. Pat in IL

    The Tea Partiers are so far off the track of true patriotism that they can't even see it. The only reason they're upset about the numbers is that the social issues were left out. What idiots. They're becoming a "cult" that has their own agenda and their own strange way of looking at the country. Intelligent people know how to compromise and pick their battles in order to move forward.

    April 9, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  2. Stephen in Bedford, TX

    What some of these uncompromising Tea Party pooper folks don't realize is that our country was founded through compromise. The whole drafting of our constitution, which Tea Party nut jobs professes to love, was an excercise in compromise.

    April 9, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  3. Professor V.J. Cornacopia

    It blows my mind that they make a statement like "Liberal Democrats selfish children," and in the same sentence claim that voters demand reducing the budget. I hate when someone makes a statement of a political generalization and claim that they represent the voters when all they are doing is pushing their party's objectives. Voters want different things, that why they vote in different people. No one has the correct answer in the debate, because their are so many different views. I can't speak for anyone else, but I personally want compromise and working together as opposed to party objectives and victories. It's not a great system where your views on Government's oversight on business determines how you feel on women's reproductive rights. Conductive hot button issues need to be put aside for real work to get done!

    April 9, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  4. 830 billion

    this abhorrent $830 billion deficit is the same number the tax breaks they fought so hard for costs. dumba$$ tea party basically gave themselves a loan from a credit card to appease the rich.

    April 9, 2011 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  5. normajean

    THE TEA PARTY IS NOT AMERICA!!!!. This is a two party system. Democrats and Republicans!!!! You are a bunch of misfits hanging out in parks with signs that don't make sense like "Take the government out of my medicare". I mean how DUMB can you be. You are screwing up the system and not helping this country one bit. You are people that don't know what you think or you would be a contributing part of the legitmate system, which you are not!!!Get a life and leave us alone. We don't want nor need you !!You and the people you are pushing are a detrement to a regulated society. GET LOST!!!!

    April 9, 2011 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  6. Richard T.d/

    My way or the highway politics. How very adult of these people and organizations. They refuse to acknowledge that making the budget the tool of reactionary social policy and wars is not serving the country or its citizens.

    April 9, 2011 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  7. NameWilliam Adams

    Why didn't these tea party hypocrites protest vigorously when there Republican controlled nut cases bailed out the major banking institutions,the auto industry, and they never complain about how the oil companies are taking advantage of its consumers while they are still making record profits.

    April 9, 2011 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  8. nintex

    It shouldn't be about the two parties fighting each other; it should be about compromising for the good of the entire country, not just the social conservatives who want to turn the clock back 50 years. Instead of all this war language, how about some "peace" language, and moving forward together for the betterment of the whole country!

    April 9, 2011 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |

    The people of America voted to create JOBS not do away with programs that we help strenghten our economy. I think that the Tea Partiers have a different agenda!

    April 9, 2011 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  10. Red79

    not surprising, The Tea Party would rather promote their ideology no matter the cost to the citizens of the United States. Talk about selfish.

    April 9, 2011 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    TEA Party = Tax Evading American Party

    April 9, 2011 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  12. Geo

    Many people have come to believe the Tea Party (bankrolled by the Koch Brothers) and the Republican party has a purpose of creating a society of permanent Haves and Have Nots as wealth rolls upward into the hands of fewer and fewer people, sort of a world of elite wealthy aristocrats. The Libertarian philosophy behind it is a sort of reverse Marxism where the wealthy elite are in an idealogical crusade against the middle class: eliminating or significantly reducing Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Unions, Public Education, Public Television, and accountability and taxation on wealthy corporations and bankers. As wealth concentrates upward with little impedment and the members of the middle class fall off into a growing, gaping hole of poverty, the United States becomes more like some third world country, a Zaire with nukes. To be sure, with the immense deficit and excess public expenditures, benefits and programs will have to be reduced, but to be fair and patriotic, all Americans, including the 1%, the elite, should have to share in the cost and sacrifice, but so far the aim has been to use the crisis to the increasing advantage of this group, and launch an assault on the middle class.

    April 9, 2011 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  13. Thankfully Independent

    Sounds to me like the Tea Bag Party is out of touch with the American public.

    April 9, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  14. Snow

    This cut was equal to a half cent taken out of a dollar if that much. We need to cut one heck of a lot more to get this country back on a financially strong road to recovery. Spending money on things that are not the responsibility of the government like abortions and cherry blossom parades plus a thousand other waste of money projects need to be cut. If the liberals wants abortions and cherry blossom parades, let them pay for them and not the US takpayer.

    April 9, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  15. Start with Federal Pensions

    I have "enjoyed" the lack of debate over what to do with the bloated federal and state pensions currently received by bloated former federal and state employees. BUT, WE CONTRIBUTED TO THAT PROGRAM. Yes, with your bloated paychecks and your bloated extras that artificially pushed your bloated pensions to the skies. As I look at the bloated members of the Tea Party, I see bloated federal and state employees. CAP existing and future federal/state retirement systems!! That will save us trillions!!

    April 9, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  16. Dan in FL

    In the picture at the top of the article there is a holding a sign that says, "The Tea Party is America." Well I've got news for her, it's not my America. We are not overtaxed, we just have a system that has become so convoluted over time by special interests that many people no longer pay their fair share. As our nation becomes more crowded and resources become scarce, we need a government to protect us from each other and to plan for the nation's long-term needs such as energy. The Tea Party is nostalgic for a time that is 100 or more years in the past. We can no longer be that nation and need to grow up and accept it. Times have changed.

    April 9, 2011 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  17. FactCheck

    American really doesn't care what this minute faction from the looney bin thinks.

    April 9, 2011 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  18. Patricia

    The voters who still have their sanity will be much more focused next year as well. Pick out a tombstone tea party, this voter is not interested in any flavor you have to offer and is getting ready to toss you out in the trash.

    April 9, 2011 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  19. Danny Spencer

    I have yet to hear the tea party denounce the racist remarks that their members make. I have yet to see them separate themselves from the hate they push for those of a darker skin then they are. I have yet to see them care about those who are less fortunate then they are, or care about those through no fault of their own were cast aside. All I have heard from the tea party that it is ALL RIGHT TO LIE, and they are teaching our children that you should not care about or help your fellow man. Behold the Future of Amearica.

    April 9, 2011 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  20. Chris

    O yeah, but we have to keep the spending addicted Republicans who destroyed the surplus, gave the banks and Wall Street free rein to run rampant over our economy, cut the taxes of people like corporated CEOs and Wall Streeters who do not personally create a single job outside their corporate persona, yet haul in multi million $$ bonuses and salaries. AND help promote oil company subsidies in the billions, while making sure some of the largest US companies pay ZERO taxes,. Shall we go into defrauding the populace of the USA with Iraq? THIS is what the Tea Party wants? Probably not, but they need to get realistic.
    And on a side not, lets all figure out why these selfish lawmakers on both sides of the aisle always refer to the American people as "they' or "them". Seems they consider themselves separate from the masses.

    April 9, 2011 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    THese republicans that took a surplus to a defecit, that created the need for the current spending, that claimed " the defecit does not matter" just 3 years ago, that demaned the $700 billion in tax cuts for the richest 2%, that supported the Iraq war, these republicans have no credability at all. They have only latched onto this as a poltical issue because their policies just created teh worst recession or our liftimes and resulted in disaster. The whole movement is a dangerous fraud trying to use the people that do not know any better. If the T baggers cared anything about debt, the republican party is the last place to turn.

    April 9, 2011 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  22. Mike

    That sign says it all. They think America is the Tea Party? They are totally delusional.

    April 9, 2011 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  23. NSHSDad

    Any real solution will have to take on entitlements and defense spending. Nickel and dime-ing non defense discretionary spending is just diddling around.

    April 9, 2011 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  24. jon

    The Tea Party should be running their own candidate in 2012. The GOP establishment it too connected in Washington and will always go to the center. They should run Trump as their own candidate. He has the money to fund a campaign and could probably get more votes than anyone that the Republicans come up with.

    April 9, 2011 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  25. LMC

    The tea party does not believe in compromise. Apparently it's their way or nothing. That isn't the way to run a country!

    April 9, 2011 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
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