Jenny Beth Martin looked out on the rain-dampened crowd along Constitution Avenue and pointed over her shoulder at the Capitol.
"They heard us, but they're not listening!" Martin, a tea party leader, told members of the movement that helped put Republicans in charge of the House last November.
The crowd booed.
Four months after the historic election, the populist force that helped drive Republicans to power is finding that its clout on Capitol Hill isn't automatic.
What brings you out today, one tea party member was asked. "Saving our country, obviously."
Sensitive talks over how many billions of dollars to cut from this year's federal budget have strayed far below the Republicans' campaign promise to slash $100 billion. Rather than standing firm and allowing parts of the government to shut down until enough lawmakers came around, House Speaker John Boehner was doing exactly what the tea partiers thought they had elected Republicans to avoid: negotiating with President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats over spending cuts.
"Cut it or shut it!" chanted the crowd outside the Capitol on Thursday.
"I'm not talking about $5 billion or $6 billion or $10 billion. I'm talking about $100 billion," said one tea party activist (seen in the picture above), speaking of the budget cuts. According to the AP, $10 billion has been cut so far.
Among those not balking were some of the 87 freshmen Republicans, who more than anyone in the House owe their seats to the tea party juggernaut.
One group, Tea Party Nation, called for Boehner's ouster. But the Ohio Republican made clear Thursday that, like it or not, a budget compromise loomed on the horizon.
Bullfeathers, shot back tea partyer Tom Altman.
"They're chicken. They're cowards," said the 60-year-old resident of Westmoreland County, Pa., who says he's been active in Republican politics. Of the House's ruling GOP officials he said: "They're our employees. We need to fire them."
"It's not the Republican freshmen, it's Boehner and the Republican leadership," said Cincinnati retiree Richard Ringo. "Last year, a lot of people thought, 'Well, the Republicans are in power now, we can relax.' But they're doing the same thing they always do, whether it's the Republicans or the Democrats."
Michele Bachmann spoke to the crowd today, cheering them on. "Stand firm. Hold us accountable. We love you," she told the cheering group.
As tea partiers gathered in DC today to protest compromise on the budget cuts, there are also activists fighting the fiscally conservative fight on the state and local level, as ReasonTV reports below. Chris Littleton, president of the Ohio Liberty Council, says of his council's tea party activism, "All of our focus is going to be state-based because we feel that DC is just--it's not going to go too many places too fast right now."
"We need to send responsibility back to the states," Rand Paul said at the rally today.
The Associated Press contributed to this report