News / USA

Tea Party Plays Key Role In US Budget-Related Government Showdown

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis. touts his 2012 federal budget during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 5, 2011
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis. touts his 2012 federal budget during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 5, 2011

Multimedia

President Barack Obama and Republicans in Congress are engaged in a high-stakes battle over the U.S. budget that could result in a government shutdown unless a compromise is reached.  One factor complicating the search for common ground is the grass roots conservative Tea Party movement, which is demanding that Republicans keep their promise to cut spending and reduce the size of the central government in Washington.  

Tea Party supporters gathered at a recent rally near the Capitol to keep the pressure on congressional Republicans to cut the budget.

Among them was Tea Party organizer Jenny Beth Martin:

"We are going to lead as the American people, if the people we elect can’t get it together [get organized] and figure out how to do it," said Martin.

It was a small crowd compared to past Tea Party rallies.  But the message from Tea Party supporter Brooke Storey to Republican lawmakers was clear - no more compromising with President Obama and the Democrats.

"It is the compromising that has got us to where we are right now," said Storey. "We can’t compromise any more.  We are broke.  America’s broke."

Tea Party support helped Republicans make gains in last year’s mid-term congressional elections, and several Republican members of Congress urged the crowd to keep the pressure on for spending cuts in Washington.

Among them was Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, who is considering a run for president next year.

"You are awesome people," said Bachmann. "No wonder they are afraid of you.  They are afraid of you because you are powerful. so, I’m here to give you a message: Stay courageous, and I know you will."

The Tea Party crowd may have been in a no-compromise mood, but that is not something that President Obama believes the country can afford at the moment.

"At a time when the economy is just beginning to grow, where we are just starting to see a pickup in employment, the last thing we need is a disruption caused by a government shutdown," said President Obama.

But, so far, the White House proposed cuts are not enough to satisfy the Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner.

"We want the largest spending cuts that are possible and we are going to continue to fight for those," said Boehner.

Outside of Washington, Americans seem disconnected from the budget debate, including this sampling of opinion from the streets of Chicago.

Woman: "I haven’t heard anybody talk about it all.  Nobody has said anything."

Man: "I wish these people could figure out their act, but they seem to be playing games, and nobody can really get to the important issues."

It is much the same out in the countryside, says Illinois farmer Monty Whipple.

"Yes, it is possible that it could happen," said Whipple. "But those political guys out there in Washington are just fooling around, posturing on all this, and they will work it out somehow."

Either way, political analyst William Galston of the Brookings Institution says the political battle over the budget and the role of the central government will extend into next year’s U.S. presidential election campaign.

"What happens in 2011 will define, to a very substantial degree, the terrain of the conversation and the terrain of the political battle in 2012," said Galston. "So, this is a game for very high stakes, and both sides know it."

Public opinion polls show Americans are sharply divided over which party would be blamed in the eventuality of a government shutdown.  

You May Like

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs