By MARIN COGAN & JAKE SHERMAN, Politico
Itâ€™s not like Republicans need a reminder of the tensions within their own ranks on governmentÂ spending cuts.
But if they forget whatâ€™s at stake, all GOP lawmakers need to do Thursday is walk outside the Capitol, where perhaps hundreds ofÂ tea party protesters will be urging congressional leaders to hold their ground on major spending cuts.
Reps.Â Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Steve King of Iowa â€” members of the partyâ€™s right flank emboldened by a national following of tea party leaders â€” will fire up the crowd. Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, a national figure among conservatives who is free of GOP leadership responsibilities, will join rally-goers who he says â€œdemand that Washington get serious about putting our fiscal house in order.â€
And inside the Capitol, House SpeakerÂ John Boehner (R-Ohio) will quietly try to figure out how to negotiate without looking like heâ€™s making backroom deals with Democrats and President Barack Obama. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), tacking right, is seemingly unaware of some of the intricacies of theÂ negotiations between the administration and Senate leadership.
Meanwhile, tea party leaders say their heat is aimed at both partys’ leaders.
â€œItâ€™s absolutely equally aimed at both parties,â€ said Tea Party Patriots co-founder Mark Meckler, who helped organize the protest. â€œIt takes responsibility equally for both parties to get this done.â€
Though Meckler focused primarily on Senate Democrats, he had a warning shot for House Republican leaders, as well. â€œTheir responsibility is to lead. Theyâ€™ve been granted a temporary shot at showing they can lead [the] country back to fiscal solvency, and we expect them to behave in a way that people want.â€
The tea party rally will be one of a handful of tense occurrences for Republicans over the next 24 hours.
Former Speaker Newt Gingrich â€” the last speaker to shut down the government â€” will address Republicans Thursday in a closed-door meeting with the GOPâ€™s 87-member freshman class and a health care caucus. And on Friday, House Republicans will force a floor debate on a largely symbolic bill that would compel the Senate to swallow every last dime of House Republicansâ€™ $61 billion in spending cuts.
To some extent, Republicans have themselves to blame for the spending cut hype: In the run-up to the 2010 elections, they promised $100 billion in spending reductions â€” a symbolic number that many in leadership have begun to regret.
To read more, visit:Â http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0311/52270.html#ixzz1IBCjNNhz
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