Idaho's Republican representatives in Congress sent words of praise and encouragement to protesters who gathered to rally against government spending of tax dollars this week.
The so-called "Tax Day Tea Party" rallies were held statewide. No events were set for Blaine County. But in Boise, The Idaho Statesman reported that some 2,500 people gathered to protest government fiscal policies. Rallies had been planned in Idaho Falls, Pocatello, Coeur d'Alene and Moscow, among other cities.
In an open letter to participants, U.S. Sen. Jim Risch, an Idaho Republican, said he applauded the rallies.
"It is great to see Americans exercising their constitutional rights," wrote Risch in a letter released to the media. "In the three months since I took office there has been an unprecedented increase in government spending with the release of additional TARP (Toxic Assets Relief Program) funds, the so-called stimulus package and the FY 2009 and 2010 budgets. In all four cases I urged my Senate colleagues to slow the process down, thoroughly debate the bills, and remove wasteful spending. In the end, I could not persuade them to enact responsible legislation so I voted against each of those measures."
Similar messages came from U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo and U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, both Idaho Republicans.
"I strongly support the concept of these 'Tea Parties' and hope they will demonstrate to Congressional Leaders and to President Obama that the American people are fed up with government spending and intend on making their voices heard," said Simpson. He too voted against the Obama administration's 2010 budget bill and the stimulus bill that passed Congress.
Crapo also reminded protesters that he voted against the spending packages put forth by the administration and supported by the Democratic majority in Congress.
"This is your money; you deserve to see clearly how spending decisions by the Congress are reflected in a rising national debt that will be placed on our children and grandchildren," Crapo wrote in a letter to protesters. "We need to increase incentives for business and rework our tax policy to encourage job creation and new investment in the American economy. The last thing we need during these difficult economic times is a tax increase."
Crapo told protesters that "I commend you all on your efforts today."
Idaho's Democratic Party, however, put out a statement saying that it was important to remember that Americans were facing the results of eight years of a Republican administration under former President George W. Bush.
"Eight years ago, our nation enjoyed a budget surplus, record levels of employment and a robust housing market," their statement read. "All of that was squandered away by deficit-financed tax cuts for the very richest Americans, the foolish and unnecessary war in Iraq and business deregulation that left our financial system at the mercy of greedy Wall Street manipulators."