The Tea Party Express hosted the first-ever digital town hall for multiple members of Congress who represent the Tea Party movement. Republican Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Steve King of Iowa and Allen West of Florida, and Republican Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah and Orrin Hatch of Utah, all took questions from constituents nationwide at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
The group took questions via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as from those in attendance. Many of the questions delved into ongoing policy debates in Washington, such as how to deal with the national deficit, repealing Obamacare, the economic situation and defunding different federal agencies.
Bachmann, who spoke for about ten minutes, argued that President Barack Obama’s administration has taken over almost every major industry in the United States, from health care to homeowner’s loans to school loans to the automotive industry. Bachmann also ripped Obama for new Environmental Protection Agency regulatory powers, comparing them to a “cap and trade” tax.
“I think we know that when we have Obamacare hanging over us and we have the EPA under orders of President Obama to, despite the fact that Congress didn’t pass this law for cap and trade, the president is full speed ahead, ‘let’s put it into place,’” Bachmann said. “Is that what the American people want? Are you kidding me? They don’t want a new national energy tax when he’s already taken over the rest of the industries. Now he wants the energy industry too?”
WATCH: Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s remarks at the Tea Party Express’s town hall event
King recommended that, with the upcoming continuing resolution, Republicans move to add language that defunds Obamacare in the future as well as funding already appropriated to implement the president’s key legislative priority.
“It’s that simple and it’s broad and it’s encompassing,” King told The Daily Caller. “It’s patterned off the 1974 legislation that shut off the funding to Vietnam during the war. I’ve gone back and read through that debate and read through the language and there it says, ‘no funds shall be used in the skies over Vietnam, in the land over Vietnam, in the seas adjacent to or the countries adjacent to [Vietnam] and no funds that were previously appropriated shall be used either.’”
One audience member asked the panel whether they thought membership in the House or Senate Tea Party caucuses was essential to supporting the movement and if certain members who chose not to join, referring to Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, were selling out the conservative cause?
“In the Senate, we have started a Tea Party Caucus with three members: Rand Paul, Jim DeMint and myself,” Lee said. “We have invited all 100 senators to join. I get the question very frequently, very often by reporters who want the answer to be, ‘Yes, I’m devastated,’ I get the question, ‘Is it upsetting to you that you only have three?’ My answer is ‘No, that’s three more than we had a year ago.’”