Tea Party-Backed Lawmakers Want Deficit in Half

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As lawmakers in the House of Representatives and the Senate negotiate with Vice President Joe Biden on a deal to raise the nation's debt ceiling, Tea Party-backed congressmen are demanding specific conditions.

They want to cut the deficit in half, which means trimming more than $300 billion out of the 2012 budget.

In addition, they want to place a cap on future spending and pass a constitutional amendment requiring Congress to pass balanced budgets.

Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J. suggested the Obama administration remember that the freshman class of lawmakers in the House came in with a mandate from the Tea Party to cut spending and trim the size of government.

"So, it's a little bit odd if you think about it for the administration to be expecting that same class of freshmen and the existing conservatives in the House to bow to the scare tactics that they've been giving us," he said.

The Treasury Department said Congress must raise the debt ceiling by Aug. 2 or risk a financial meltdown.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said Tuesday the budget talks led by Biden are covering every type of spending program and have shifted to the "really tough stuff" on how to cut the deficit.

"Crunch time it is," Cantor said at a briefing, adding that he hopes the endgame in the talks with Biden is "the start of something big."

"We want big reforms. and bold action," Cantor said.

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