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Tax Day Tea Party in Washington: GOP Hill Leaders Not Invited

5 years ago
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A Tea Party rally is scheduled Thursday at the foot of the Washington Monument to un-celebrate tax day, but Republican leaders -- stalwarts of anti-tax rhetoric just up the National Mall on Capitol Hill -- are not on the invite list.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader John Boehner and their top deputies were expressly left off the speakers schedule at the event because they voted in favor of the 2008 Wall Street bailout -- a rescue effort under former President Bush, The Hill newspaper reports.

The Tea Party, a grassroots conservative movement that's unhappy with President Obama and just about everything going on in the nation's capital, prides itself on its non-partisan, leaderless image. One of its complaints, high taxes, is Thursday's focus, but the group has also taken a page from former House Speaker News Gingrich in issuing a "Contract From America." The conservative manifesto demands repeal of the health care reform law, an end to "runaway government spending," rejection of the cap-and-trade energy bill, and more.

Unlike Gingrich's 1994 "Contract With America," the new pact was written "from the bottom up" with no help from Washington pollsters, one of the organizers, Ryan Hecker, tells the New York Times. The contract, the result of a seven-week contest that reportedly attracted 450,000 responses, is heavy on fiscal restraint and light on social issues. It asks candidates running for office this year to agree to its tenets.

McConnell and Boehner won't be faced with any such decision on Thursday since the bash in Washington will apparently be light on big-name politicians. Former Rep. Richard Armey of Texas, who was a House Republican leader, said the tea partiers were saying "earn your spurs and you can get on stage." Tri-corner hats and "Don't Tread on Me" banners are more likely than spurs to be at center stage Thursday -- the deadline for filing federal income tax returns -- as the Tea Party fans out for anti-tax events in Washington and other cities.

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