Conservative Activists Rally on Capitol Hill As Lame Duck Session Begins

By Chris Johnson | November 16, 2010 | 4:23am EST

Americans for Prosperity rally (Photo courtesy of Starr)

( - As Congress’ lame duck session began on Monday, activists from around the country met at the Capitol to “keep the pressure on to ensure Congress does not pass radical legislation.”

On the first day of the final session of the 111th Congress, members of the organization “Americans for Prosperity” (AFP) gathered outside the Capitol.

Bearing the Gadsden Flag and protest signs that have become well known at the Capitol in the past two years, the AFP activists enthusiastically welcomed to the podium several conservative leaders in Congress such as Reps. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Mike Pence (R-Ind.) as well as the senator who has been referred to as “the king maker” after his many endorsements in this year’s midterm elections, Jim DeMint (R-S.C.).

The rally also featured several of the newly elected members of Congress who arrived this week for orientation.

AFP President Tim Phillips said the lame duck session which started Monday could be a “last gasp effort” by the outgoing Democrat-majority Congress to pass some controversial legislation.

“Starting today, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are bringing back in the old, failed Congress, and they’re going to try one last time, one last-gasp effort to cram their agenda that’s been repudiated by the American people through.”

Pence had a similar warning: “This lame duck Congress is limping back into Washington, D.C., hungry for more spending, more taxes, more deficits, and we are here to say, ‘no lame duck!”

The man who received the warmest welcome from the AFP crowd was DeMint who was introduced as “our free market champion.” The Senate Republican Caucus is set to vote tomorrow on a motion by DeMint, which would continue the Republican ban on earmarks.

Phillips said he considers this vote to be an indicator as to whether or not the Republican Party “got the message” on government spending. “Tomorrow the Republicans in the Senate are going to start answering that question, ‘Have we learned our lesson?’”

DeMint said thinks Republicans have learned their lesson. He said things have changed in Washington, and lawmakers are ready to start listening to their constituents.

“If the Senate Republicans fail to pass the ban on earmarks tomorrow, obviously they have not gotten the message. I’m optimistic that they have. There’s a lot of pressure on some of them to cave in, but I think you’re going to see a bold new group of Republicans.”

DeMint encouraged the grassroots activists to stay active, saying that as long as they continued to speak out, the leadership would continue to listen.

“And if we remember that, if we expand what you started every day over the next few years – average people engaged in what’s going on here - it’s going to keep these people accountable. They’re going to keep listening. We’re going to have more voices speaking for you and we’re going to bring this country away from the edge of the financial cliff that it’s on and restore a lot of those freedoms that all of us believe in."

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