Congresswoman and tea party leader Michele Bachmann tells Newsmax she will flat-out refuse to support any budget bill that does not include the defunding of President Obama’s healthcare reform plan.
The Minnesota Republican, who is considering a run for president in 2012, also charges that Democrats are playing “political games” by seeking to shut down the government in the belief they would benefit politically.
And she declares that Obama has to “eat his words” uttered three years ago when he said a president has no power to take the same action the Obama administration has taken in Libya.
Democrats in the Senate have proposed $33 billion in spending cuts, while House Republicans want $61 billion in cuts. In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, Bachmann was asked whether $33 billion in cuts would be a deal-breaker for her.
“People who are here in Washington, D.C., today affiliated with the tea party are saying that in their opinion, $61 billion shouldn’t be the goal — that should be the starting point,” says Bachmann, founder and head of the House Tea Party Caucus.
“So it’s very good that we have people from the tea party, which are average Americans, pressing the Congress, saying $33 billion isn’t enough, $61 billion isn’t enough. I think that will ultimately help us end on a very good number.”
Asked whether she would go along with just $33 billion in cuts, Bachmann says: “What I’m going along with is to be able to have defunding of Obamacare. I cannot vote for a budget bill unless it has the defunding of Obamacare. We’re talking about well over $1 trillion over a number of years and this will break the bank in the United States.
“Over the course of the past year, the American people have been very clear: Defund Obamacare. That will change the outcome more than what the particular dollar amount is.
“What we need to do is get our financial house in order. We’ve already put a template out to do that, which would include defunding of Planned Parenthood, defunding of Obamacare. We need to put that forward and make our case.”
Some observers have said the Democrats’ strategy is to drive a wedge between the tea party, which insists that Republicans should fight for massive cuts, and House Speaker John Boehner. Asked whether she believes that could happen, Bachmann tells Newsmax: “No, I don’t think so. The tea party put the gavel in Speaker Boehner’s hand. They’re not trying to go against John Boehner, they’re just trying to hold the Republicans accountable.”
New York Sen. Chuck Schumer on Tuesday said on an open microphone that his caucus had told him to label the tea party as “extreme” at every opportunity. Republicans said that indicated Democrats are more interested in playing political games, and perhaps even forcing a shutdown of the government.
Former National Democratic Chairman Howard Dean and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have expressed sentiments similar to Schumer’s in recent days.
“Between Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer and Howard Dean, they let the cat out of the bag,” Bachmann says.
“That is that the Democrats’ political plan is to shut down government because they think they will benefit from doing that. Now we know that if the government shuts down it’s not the tea party’s fault, it’s the Democrats’ fault, because they’ve made a decision they’re not interested in compromise. They just want to see the government shut down.
“They aren’t interested in a practical solution, and I think people all across the United States are tired of political games.”
Bachmann, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, was asked about reports in the press that CIA operatives are in Libya despite President Obama’s assertion that there will be no American boots on the ground in that country.
Commenting on the reports, Bachmann says: “I am on the House Intelligence Committee and I’m unable to confirm things that are in the press, but I will tell you this about Libya: I oppose personally the move into Libya because [Defense] Secretary [Robert] Gates has stated first of all that Gadhafi posed no threat to the United States, second, that there is no vital national interest in Libya, and third, we have no idea who the opposition forces are.
“The Telegraph of London wrote that there are al-Qaida veterans who are part of the opposition forces. How could it possibly benefit the United States if we were somehow to help al-Qaida in North Africa?
“Without understanding who the opposition forces are, I think it was foolish to go in when we didn’t have a clear coherent strategy.”
In 2007, candidate Obama said the president “does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”
Now that Obama has authorized an attack in Libya, Bachmann tells Newsmax, “the president has to eat his words. Quite clearly the president is being a hypocrite in his actions compared to what his words were before in holding President Bush accountable.
“I think we’ve learned lessons from the Iraq conflict and from Afghanistan, and I think a lot of those lessons have been lost on the president. I think the president has reduced America’s standing in the world, and he’s certainly caused our economy to be reduced.
“The president hasn’t been good for America. He doesn’t deserve to be re-elected.”
About her possible run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012, Bachmann discloses: “I’ll be making my decision sometime in the early part of the summer, because there’s a straw poll in Iowa in August and it’s important for a candidate to be part of that poll.
“I think it’s time America has a president who will stand up for the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and our Bill of Rights. I think we have not seen that out of the current president, and just like it would have hurt the nation to have a second term of Jimmy Carter, I think we can multiply that by a factor of 20 and that would be the impact of having a second term with Barack Obama.
“We cannot allow that to happen.”
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