Anti-Tax Groups Reprise Tea Parties
Stock up on the Earl Grey and the English Breakfast: the GOP-led tea party activists are set to begin another series of anti-tax demonstrations around the country in July.
The first round of tea — or “Taxed Enough Already— — parties will begin “on or around— July 4 and will focus on opposition to government-run health care, according to national tea party coordinator Jenny Beth Martin.
Tea party participants have scheduled more than 400 events in 49 states and the District of Columbia, according to the Tea Party Patriots Web site. Only Rhode Island had no events planned.
Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, said he is planning to attend a protest in Pittsburgh over the July Fourth weekend.
Throughout the month of July, tea party groups will attempt to re-create the protests held on Feb. 27 and April 15 during which thousands of people took to the streets to protest the $787 billion stimulus bill, President Barack Obama’s $3.55 trillion budget proposal and tax increases they believe Obama’s policies will require.
Organizers are also planning simultaneous protests around the country on July 17. Norquist said he hopes the rallies will continue to grow from the demonstrations that attracted an estimated 600,000 on April 15, and that his goal is to increase the number of participants to 1 million people.
FreedomWorks, the conservative group led by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas), has again fired up an interactive map on its Web site, aimed at helping would-be protesters find groups in their area, said Brendan Steinhauser, director of federal and state campaigns for the group.
Steinhauser said the group is also providing information on health care and climate change legislation so organizers are kept well-informed on the issues.
The protests in the spring “energized the broader right coalition,— Norquist said. “When you have hundreds and thousands of people that have organized over talk radio and e-mail, these are new networks.—
“It’s very encouraging,— he said, adding that it is important for people who oppose the government’s action on issues such as taxes to know that there are other, like-minded people in their communities and beyond. Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price (Ga.) agreed with Norquist.
“They need to know that there are other Americans across this land that feel as they do,— Price said. “This land is still owned by the people.—
Price said he plans to attend tea party protests over the recess but indicated that there were no formal invitations for him and other Members of Congress to attend the rallies.
“This is really an organic movement,— Price said.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) praised the demonstrations.
“The movement is helpful, the movement is genuine. I think it is organic and it’s in response to becoming a bailout, systemic debtor nation that people fear and resent,— Hensarling said.
Congressional participation in the event will vary depending on the location of the demonstration, Martin said.
“Each local tea party decides how they want to handle Congressional participation,— Martin said. “In many places, they don’t want them to speak. In others, they encourage— the participation of elected officials.
The last round of tea parties was lampooned on many cable TV talk shows, but Price said that was unlikely to deter participants.
“I don’t think they have an impact,— he said. “People see through that.—
The protests earlier this year were identified as in the tradition of the Boston Tea Party following CNBC’s Rick Santelli’s declaration Feb. 19 that “it’s time for another tea party— to protest the government’s actions.