While Republican leaders on Capitol Hill are virtually jumping for joy at the tentative agreement for $33 billion in cuts for the rest of the fiscal year, grassroots Republicans and members of Tea Party organizations are far from satisfied with the results. Many of those who backed the election of the 70 or so new representatives who gave Republicans a House majority are calling foul and demanding a government shut down instead of compromise with Democrats.
Some Tea Party groups held a rally on Capitol Hill today demanding further and deeper cuts and a government shut-down if Democrats did not accept further reductions in spending. The Republican Liberty Caucus which elected several members to Congress last fall issued a strongly worded statement advising lawmakers “not to compromise on the budget or to expect to be held accountable,” and enthusiastically endorsing a government shut down so that legislators could “Come home to your districts for a week or two and hold some town hall meetings. Give us a chance to remind you face to face why we’re so fed up with the way you’re spending our money and ignoring the debt problem.”
The level of anger is high among those who have been working to change the big-spending practices of government, and they seem not at all concerned about the threats of Democrat leaders like Howard Dean who claim that a shut-down would lead to a backlash against Republicans. Activists on the right are convinced that voters will see through any attempt to place blame on fiscally conservative Republicans and direct their anger at those in both parties who have turned a deaf ear to the demands for real and substantive cuts like the $500 billion in cuts proposed by newly elected Senator Rand Paul (R-KY).
Florida Republican Liberty Caucus Chairman Matt Nye expressed some of this outrage, saying that “spending at every level of government is out of control, but nothing compares to the fiscal insanity we are witnessing in Washington, D.C. This new batch of Republicans was elected to get America’s financial house in order, but to date they have failed utterly and completely. It is hard to understand how such a simple fact of reality – that you cannot consume more than you produce – is so hard for our elected officials to understand and act on when regular Americans do it every day in their own households.”
Michael S. Murphy, Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Wisconsin, observed that, “The message sent by the American voter was not heard clearly enough by the Republican Congressional leadership… The Republican establishment has proven yet again that they can’t be trusted with responsible budgetary governance. The only way to halt runaway deficit spending is to shut down the government to save our Republic from the irreversible financial abyss it’s about to dive into.”
At the Tea Party rally RLC-endorsed Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX) said “If we can’t keep our pledge, we deserve to be thrown out of office.” Judson Phillips of the Tea Party Nation group wrote “The Tea Party movement should find a candidate to run against John Boehner in 2012.” Daria Dewald of Patriot Action Network called the budget “bloated and obscene” and has started a petition to demand a government shut-down.
As a concerned Republican, when I received a fundraising email from House Speaker John Boehner yesterday on behalf of the National Republican Congressional Committee, my reaction was one of dismay. It made me wonder how they could possibly be so out of touch as to think that grassroots GOP donors would take a donation request seriously from the guy who is about to compromise with the Democrats on a totally unacceptable budget. It made me want to get out my phone and call to scream at them, not get out my wallet and send them money.
A government shut-down sounds serious, but if we are so dependent on the federal government that we cannot do without it for a few weeks then that alone is proof that our government has grown too large and too intrusive. Belgium has now gone for ten months without a central government after a similar shut-down. If we cannot do as well with our system of divided powers and largely self-governing states than that is proof that there is something fundamentally wrong with our republic which needs to be addressed.Powered by Sidelines