'We Are Not Puppets': Tea Party Sends Warning to Lawmakers
'Contract From America' at Center of Second Annual Tea Party Rally in Washington
WASHINGTON, Sept. 10, 2010— -- "Remember in November."
That's the warning Tea Party members plan to give to lawmakers Sunday when they gather in the nation's capital for their second annual march.
Buoyed by the growth of the movement and the fervor around the midterm elections, this year's event will be even more politically charged. Attendance, however, is expected to be lower because of multiple similar events, including Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally two weeks ago.
Unlike last year's protest, which focused on the health care bill and the $787 billion stimulus, Sunday's rally will highlight the "Contract From America," a document inspired by Newt Gingrich's 1994 "Contract for America."
"It's going to be more political" than last year, said Brendan Steinhauser, director of federal and state campaigns at FreedomWorks, which is spearheading the march.
"This movement is very much a reaction to sort of the big government that has been happening over the last few years under Bush and Obama, so we're not extreme at all, we are right there in the middle."
The "Contract From America" was unveiled in April on Tax Day and boasts some high-profile signatories, including Republican Senate candidates Marco Rubio of Florida, Dan Coats of Indiana and Sharron Angle of Nevada, and Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C.
Unlike the 1994 contract, which included specific bills, the "Contract From America" is broader, calling for the end of earmarks until there is a balanced budget, repeal of health care law, a rejection of "cap and trade" in an energy bill and limited government.
The Democratic National Committee labels its contents "bumper sticker slogans."
But the contract's author, Ryan Hecker, disagreed with the idea that it's too broad. Its strength is that it wasn't crafted by lawmakers and that it's a "document of ideas," the Texas lawyer argues.
"There will be legislation tied to these ideas by the time the next Congress starts in January," said Hecker, a Tea Party activist who will be speaking at the march Sunday.
Even though some of the proposals are broad, such as fundamental tax reform, there is "understanding that fundamental tax reform needs to be on the agenda overall," he added. "We can quibble about specifics later, but we do need a broader agenda. ... The only difference between the 1994 document and this one is that this one is from the people. It's definitely a bottom up document crafted by and voted on by average Americans."
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