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Tea Party Group Targets Entire Agencies for Cuts

If tea partyers had their way, the super committee would completely ax the Department of Education.

And, of course, repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law.

At least that’s the conclusion of an online survey of more than 40,000 people who visited, a website set up by FreedomWorks, a Washington, D.C.-based conservative group run by former Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) that has claimed the tea party banner.

The poll found that 81 percent of respondents would like to shutter the Department of Education.

But why stop there?

Tea partyers also want to eliminate the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a move that would save $530 billion over the next 10 years, according to a FreedomWorks estimate.

“People love the idea of cutting out whole departments,” Dean Clancy, the organization’s legislative counsel and vice president of health care policy, wrote in a memo to colleagues on Monday. “This confirms our findings at the field hearings, where eliminating departments always gets very loud applause, especially the Department of Education.”

FreedomWorks will incorporate the results into a proposal that its 12-member citizen debt commission plans to deliver to Congress by Thanksgiving — as a contrast to whatever the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction presents to Congress for a vote.

The goal is to come up with a plan that reduces the national debt by at least $9 trillion and to counter the perception that the movement has no concrete proposals to offer lawmakers as they struggle to come up with at least $1.2 trillion in budget savings.

The survey could be completed by any visitor to the website and asked respondents to select programs to abolish from a list chosen by FreedomWorks.

The winning cost-saving proposals:

1. Repeal Obamacare (93%)

2. Reduce duplicative purchases of Pentagon supplies (90%)

3. Eliminate the Department of Education (81%)

4. Privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (81%)

5. Reduce discretionary spending to 2008 levels (76%)

6. Block grant Medicaid (73%)

7. End ethanol tax credits (71%)

8. Sell under used federal buildings (71%)

9. Eliminate HUD (70%)

10. End earmarks (68%)

Correction: Oct. 19, 2011

An earlier version of this story misstated the percentage of survey respondents who said they want to eliminate the Department of Education. The number is 81 percent.

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