U.S Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota said Americans are seeking a halt to what she called “gangster government,” as she spoke at rally of fellow Republicans on the first day of a lame-duck session of Congress.
Bachmann, who founded the Tea Party Caucus in the U.S. House, said this month’s midterm election results show Americans want government to reduce spending and the control it exerts over the private sector.
She decried what she called “gangster government, when government goes in and takes over one private industry at a time.”
Americans for Prosperity, a Republican-leaning group opposed to what it calls wasteful government spending, sponsored the event today to spotlight its agenda of tax cuts, curbing spending on lawmakers’ pet projects and other issues lawmakers are to address.
Other speakers at the rally included members of Congress and incoming freshmen elected Nov. 2, when Republicans won the House majority in next year’s Congress and gained six seats in the U.S. Senate. Democrats will still control the Senate, 53-47.
Senator Jim DeMint, a leader of the Tea Party movement, urged Congress to stop the practice of designating federal money for pet projects, a process known as earmarking.
‘Not Our Job’
“It’s not our job to pay for local parking lots and build local museums,” said DeMint, a South Carolina Republican.
Representative Mike Pence of Indiana cautioned that the current congressional session, in which Democrats will still control the House, “is limping back into Washington, D.C., hungry for more spending, more taxes, more deficits, more debt.”
Pence announced Nov. 3 that he won’t seek a new term as chairman of the House Republican Conference because he wants to consider “new opportunities to serve Indiana and our nation.” He has been mentioned as a possible 2012 presidential candidate
Bachmann dropped her bid for Pence’s position last week when Jeb Hensarling, a Texas Republican, received endorsements from a number of their colleagues.
Representatives-elect Morgan Griffith, Frank Guinta, Bob Gibbs and Jeff Denham also were part of the rally, held in a grassy area next to the U.S. Capitol. They take office when the next session convenes in early January.
Griffith unseated 28-year Democratic incumbent Rick Boucher from Virginia. Guinta defeated Carol Shea-Porter, a two-term Democratic incumbent from New Hampshire. Gibbs defeated two-term Democratic Representative Zach Space in Ohio. Denham was elected to take over the California seat held by retiring George Radanovich.
President Barack Obama, in his Nov. 13 weekly address, asked Congress to work to cut spending on earmarks. The Senate Republican caucus plans to vote tomorrow on whether to curb the practice.
“We have a chance to not only shine a light on a bad Washington habit that wastes billions of taxpayer dollars, but take a step towards restoring public trust,” Obama said.
Lawmakers convening in a lame-duck session also will grapple with whether to extend Bush-era income-tax cuts that are scheduled to expire at the end of this year. Obama and congressional Democrats are pushing to keep the tax cuts only for the first $200,000 of income for individuals and $250,000 for couples. Republicans want to continue the cuts for all income levels.
--Editors: Don Frederick, Robin Meszoly
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