As Republican leaders seek a deal with Democrats to cut spending for the remainder of this fiscal year, Rep. Michele Bachmann and other members of Congress rallied for deeper cuts, potentially endangering the fragile budget negotiations currently underway.
"Don't back down - and I know you won't!," Bachmann told a crowd of a few hundred tea party supporters at a rally across the street from the Capitol. "We will stand for cutting the size of government, we won't change our principles!"
The tea partiers came to Washington to express their dissatisfaction with the new Republican majority. Among the signs at the rally was one that said, "Taxation with representation ain't much fun either."
Bachmann's attempt to rally the Republicans' conservative base comes after Vice President Joe Biden told reporters last night that Republicans and Democrats had agreed to cut approximately $33 billion from this year's spending.
That's almost half of the $61 billion House Republicans passed in their spending measure last month and just a third of the $100 billion many tea party-backed candidates had promised during last year's midterm election campaigns.
This morning, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) contradicted Biden, telling reporters, "nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to."
In addition to deeper spending cuts, Bachmann wants a budget deal to include so-called policy riders, including measures to remove the funding from last year's health care bill and defunding Planned Parenthood.
"We can't afford anything less than a fight on these important issues," Bachmann told the crowd.
Boehner may have to rely on conservative Democrats, including Rep. Collin Peterson, to move a spending bill through the House if many tea party-backed members of Congress join with Bachmann and vote against a bill.
In a brief conversation with Minnesota Public Radio News yesterday, Peterson indicated that he would not vote for a bill that contained any controversial riders.
Meanwhile, interest in Bachmann continues to grow as she considers a run for the White House in 2012. The congresswoman was mobbed by reporters and supporters when she arrived at the rally and after her speech, Bachmann's staff had to hustle her into a waiting car to escape the large scrum of cameras and reporters waiting for her.