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CHQ Exclusive: Passions High at Cut Spending Rally

By Adam Cassandra | 4/7/11

Republican lawmakers spoke in support of a group of Tea Party activists who gathered on Capitol Hill Wednesday with a message to Congress to “cut spending now,” and to force a government shutdown if need be. But some in the crowd did not seem sure that GOP leaders were doing all that they could.

Americans for Prosperity, an organization of grassroots leaders who engage citizens in the name of limited government and free markets, brought together over a thousand concerned Americans to stand outside of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC amid a week of heated debates on the federal budget.   

“It’s time to pick a fight,” Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) told the crowd. “And it’s time to cut spending, and cut spending now.”

“If liberals in the Senate would rather play political games and force a government shutdown, instead of accepting a modest down payment on fiscal discipline and reform, I say shut it down,” Rep. Pence said, as the crowd cheered, “Shut it down!”

Unless Congress acts, some government services will come to a halt on Friday at midnight.

Pence was joined by Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), Renee Ellmers (R-NC) and Michele Bachmann (R-MN).

Unlike Pence, Rep. Goodlatte was not as enthusiastic about a shutdown. “We don’t want to shut down the government. We want to see Harry Reid do his job and cut spending now,” Rep. Goodlatte said. 

Tea Party favorite Michele Bachmann, who is considering running for president in 2012, told the crowd that there is no such thing as a government shutdown.

Bachmann said that the “stated goal” of Democrats is to shut government down and blame it on Tea Party, but, “There is no such thing as an actual government shutdown.” 

“There isn’t because we know that Social Security checks will continue to go out, the military will continue to go forward and we also know that there will be avery large number of government employees that will stay on the job.” Bachmann said. “So let’s just be clear, it is a government slowdown. There is no such thing as a shutdown.”

The GOP lawmakers impressed upon the crowd that the future of the country is at stake in the fight to cut and control government spending.

“This spending fight is the central fight for our time,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, chairman of the Republican Study Committee. “This is where we need patriots just like you to step up and say this matters to our country, to our kids and to our grandkids.” 

“The debate you’re going to hear during this week, the next month, the next year is the debate the freshmen class wanted to have,” freshman Republican Tim Huelskamp said. “We want to have a debate about the future of this nation. The debate is not about $33 billion…$61 billion…$100 billion…or even the $6.2 trillion we’re going to cut in the Budget Committee today…the real debate is about the future of our nation.”

The “Path to Prosperity” introduced by Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) hopes to cut $6.2 trillion in spending over the next 10 years.

And while House Speaker John Boehner told ABC News, “there’s no daylight between the tea party and me,” Wednesday’s crowd questioned the resolve of the GOP leadership.

As Rep. Renee Ellmers spoke to those gathered about the importance of pushing for more cuts, one man cried out, “What about Boehner and Cantor?”

“I’m going to honestly tell you from my heart…they are working very hard,” Rep. Ellmers said. “They are committed. Our Republican leadership is committed to the cuts. They are ready to save this country along with the rest of us.”

A Maryland woman told CHQ at the rally she thought the GOP leadership is “doing the best job they can” with the Senate Democrats, the Obama White House and the media aligned against them. When asked if she thought the Tea Party was having a big influence on the GOP, she said, “Oh I hope so. I hope so. We’re serious, because we need to be.” 

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