Upset that Congress has gone on recess as the stock market is tanking and U.S. credit has been downgraded, the leading Tea Party group is demanding that House Speaker John Boehner recall members to immediately enact spending cuts promised in the recent debt deal and make good on earlier promises to slash $100 billion from the budget.
"If I were Speaker Boehner, I'd call Congress back into session. I wouldn't take this month off. I'd say in light of the downgrade, we have serious problems we need to address. There's nothing from stopping us from addressing them right now and lets get back to work," says Jenny Beth Martin, cofounder of the Tea Party Patriots. [Check out U.S. News Weekly, now available on iPad.]
She told Whispers that Congress should return to make good on earlier promises to slash spending, moves that might help the nation regain it's AAA bond rating from Standard & Poor's. Once back, she says, "they could keep their pledge that they made to cut $100 billion this year. Or they could take the cuts from the 'Cut, Cap, and Balance' plan of $110 billion and pass that. They don't need to wait until the special 'super committee' makes recommendations at Thanksgiving. This downgrade right now is affecting not just our economy but the world economy. Who is going to be the leader and solve these problems, that's what we're looking for." [See political cartoons about the economy.]
The speaker's office had no comment. Neither Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid nor President Obama have signaled a desire to recall Congress.
In a harsh assessment of Congress, Martin adds, "At what point are they going to realize that Americans are frustrated with what they are doing? They are destroying our country right now." [Read: 2012 GOP candidates blame Obama for downgrade.]
Martin said that if Congress doesn't cancel its recess, Tea Party members will flood congressional town hall meetings around the nation to demand action. [Check out editorial cartoons about the Tea Party.]
"If they don't go back into session, then we're going to show up at town halls around the country," she says.
Martin also defended the Tea Party against belittling attacks from Democrats who blame stubborn members of the movement for the fiscal crisis and subsequent downgrade.
She says that the movement is especially irked at Massachusetts Democratic Sen. John Kerry who dubbed the phrase "Tea Party downgrade," and others who've called supporters "economic terrorists." [See political cartoons about Democrats.]
"It's unbelievable that they are comparing American citizens to ... the men who hijacked planes, rammed the planes into buildings, and killed 3,000 citizens. There is no comparison. And it's insulting," says Martin.