From NBC's Catherine Chomiak and Domenico Montanaro
With two days before the current continuing resolution funding the government expires and with a potential government shutdown on the horizon, the Tea Party came back to rally in Washington today.
"We are one today,” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) told the crowd of about 300 people. “We are one, standing together for resuming fiscal sanity in the United States," she said. "So, I'm here to say, be encouraged stand strong, hold your member of Congress and senator's feet to the fire, because the American people are with you, and we will prevail."
Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) revved up the crowd with calls for a fight. "With a deficit this year of $1.65 trillion, a national debt of $14 trillion and a defiant liberal majority in the United States Senate, it’s time to pick a fight," Pence said. "And it's time to cut spending and cut spending now."
If the Tea Party does "stand strong," and Republicans and Democrats cannot come to an agreement on the budget, who will be to blame for the impending government shutdown?
Pence went on the offense against Democrats saying they would “force a government shutdown instead of accepting a modest down payment on fiscal discipline and reform.”
Bachmann warned Tea Party members they might be the target. "It appears that they have decided that they're going to take both feet and be stuck in the mud and not negotiate one tiddly wink, because their goal, as they've already stated is to shut the government down," Bachmann claimed. "That's their stated goal. And you know what they want to do? They want to blame it on you! They want to say that it's your fault."
Bachmann contended that despite Democrats appearing to meet Republicans halfway -- saying that they would agree to about $33 billion in spending cuts. Republicans have insisted on the $61 billion House-passed measure. Bachmann said on MSNBC's Daily Rundown this morning that she believes the $61 billion is already a compromise, because Republicans promised to cut $100 billion.
The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that 37% would blame Republicans in Congress, while 20% say they would blame congressional Democrats; another 20% say President Obama would be to blame; 17% say they would blame everyone: Obama, Republicans in Congress, and Democrats in Congress; 2% would blame Obama and Democrats in Congress; and 4% say they are not sure.