Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Tea Party Rally to Congress: Spending Cuts Aren't Deep Enough

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Tea Party Rally to Congress: Spending Cuts Aren't Deep Enough

Article excerpt

Tea party activists are also calling for the defunding of Obama's health-care reform. Without a new budget compromise, the government shuts down April 8.

Amid reports that House and Senate negotiators are close to a deal to avert a government shutdown, tea party activists are converging on the Capitol for a midday rally to press for deeper spending cuts and for defunding President Obama's health-care reform.

"I think we'll see a high level of excitement," says Rep. Steve King (R) of Iowa, a featured speaker at Thursday's rally. "It helps our leadership to have a strong showing so that Republicans and [Senate majority leader] Harry Reid sees that this is real."

A key target for the rally is the ongoing negotiations over spending for the balance of the 2011 fiscal year. The latest continuing resolution will expire on April 8. Activists are also calling on Congress to defund Planned Parenthood and to remove some $105 billion in automatic funding for health-care reform that was written into the 2010 legislation - moves that Democrats strongly oppose.

Republicans campaigned to win back the House last year on a pledge to cut spending $100 billion below Mr. Obama's 2011 budget request. That's comparable to the $61.5 billion cut below current spending levels that the House passed on Feb. 19 and the Senate subsequently rejected.

After a meeting with Senate Democrats on Wednesday evening, Vice President Biden told reporters that both sides are now working off the same number: $73 billion in cuts off the president's budget request, or $33 billion below current spending levels.

"There's no reason why, with all that's going on in the world and with the state of the economy, we can't reach an agreement to avoid a government shutdown, because the bottom line is we're working off the same number," he said in a statement. The challenge now is to identify cuts that will not "eviscerate the ability of the economy to grow," he added.

House Republican leaders initially proposed $32 billion in cuts for FY 2011, but yielded to conservative pressure to increase proposed cuts to $62 billion. Reverting to the lower level will be a tough sell for many House conservatives. …

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