Tea Party groups divided on tax cut deal
December 14th, 2010
07:35 PM ET
3 years ago

Tea Party groups divided on tax cut deal

(CNN) - Democrats aren't the only ones divided over the tax cut package negotiated by President Obama and congressional Democrats.

Two tea party groups are taking opposing positions on the issue, CNN learned Tuesday.

The Tea Party Express objects to the tax cut compromise because "the piles of pork, deficit spending, and lack of any real confidence-booster for the economy makes this whole mess a bad deal for the American people," Levi Russell, a spokesman for the group, said.

Before all the details were known, Tea Party Express initially supported the package. Russell said last week he thought the compromise was not ideal, but the group was willing to accept "small victories."

Now, however, Russell said that "the more we've heard and seen about this deal the less we've liked it."

And the key criticism is that the Bush tax cuts were extended for only two years.

"Short term tax decisions don't inspire any real confidence and probably won't result in the economic boost we need," Russell said.

The group is also concerned about spending.

"The pork in this bill is completely out of control," Russell said.

"With the way it has developed, the level of pork and spending combined with a lack of any lasting tax incentives for business" the group opposes passage of the deal, he said.

On the other hand, FreedomWorks, a Tea Party-aligned group headed by former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey, supports passage of the tax cut deal.

"We're supporting the deal," spokesman Max Pappas said. "We're in favor of lower taxes and the big question is – if not this then what? When? Taxes go up on January 1, and this is the only legislative vechile that will stop that."

Pappas acknowledged that the group is concerned about the growing deficit but explained that the next Congress – which will include a Republican-led House - should work on reducing debt through spending cuts.

"We'd like to see the spending portion (of the tax cut package) offset and would like to see spending cuts accompany it," he said. "But spending reduction and tax cut bills don't often travel together."

While other fiscal conservatives object to the extension of unemployment benefits included in the bill, Pappas argues the Democrats have the votes to extend these benefits with or without this compromise.

"At least this way we get tax cuts," he said.

Speaking of an editorial column published Tuesday by former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney – in which he objected to the deal in part because it does not extend the Bush tax cuts permanently – Pappas said he doesn't "think (Romney's) argument makes much sense."

"There have been 13 substantial tax changes since 1913," he said. "I'll take two more years of the lower rate and then fight to make them permanent."

So far, however, FreedomWorks is alone in its support of the tax cut deal. The Club for Growth and Tea Party Patriots have also come out against the compromise.

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Filed under: Tax deal • Tea Party movement
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Indiana Voter

    Nice try trying to divert attention away from the Obama/Democrat rift, CNN. File this under obvious distraction. It will be interesting to see if Obama goes against his own party on the budget renouncing all the earmarks. He regretted it back in when he first took office, as he has said, so let's see if he has learned to stand against Harry Reid, and stand with the vast majority of Americans, who oppose all the needless earmarks.

    December 14, 2010 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  2. Brandon

    The Dems are Angry, the Reps are Angry. SOUNDS LIKE PRES. OBAMA IS A CENTRIST TO ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You know you are doing a good job when both parties are not happy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 14, 2010 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  3. Trevor

    Story should read- Republicans Divided on Tax Cut Deal

    December 14, 2010 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  4. carrotroot

    So the Tea Party folks who are against this would rather see everyone's taxes go up on January 1st? Because a permanent extension will definitely not happen, especially since both Dems & Republicans refuse to make any serious cuts to the budget to justify the tax cuts.

    December 14, 2010 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  5. Dale

    T-party hypocrisy. If they did what they said, they would oppose all tax cuts, and they would support MAJOR cuts to the military and other branches of the Federal government. In reality, they just said what they thought would get them elected. They are not any more fiscally conservative than any of the other politicians.

    December 14, 2010 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  6. Tom

    "And the key criticism is that the Bush tax cuts were extended for only two years"

    Any guess who is paying this guys salary???

    December 14, 2010 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  7. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Tea Party wants to talk about 'piles of pork?' How about the fact that republican senators were holding up the START treaty because they demanded their states get fat contracts on modernizing our nuclear stockpile? No bid, no oversight, just give them the money.
    Oh but it's okay for republicans to get pork, but not democrats, of course.

    December 14, 2010 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  8. Indy

    I am begging CNN to take Trumps ugly picture off the ticker page, he will never ever be a politician and I am sick of seeing him pout on this page.The Tea Party talks about short term tax breaks not boosting the economy, what they fail to see is that long term tax cuts for the rich have never been proven to create employment so why would a "conservative" gamble on the hope that permanent tax cuts for the rich will create a trickle down wealth of job creation. If they were true conservatives they would take a conservative approach of temporary tax cuts and if that somehow miraculiously creates employment then consider extending them.Permanent anything is not a conservative approach, but being careful and methotical and trying the tax breaks is a concervative approach

    December 14, 2010 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  9. Peter E

    What tax incentive? It's the biggest myth perpetuated in the politics of the last 30 years. Across the political spectrum people agree that tax cuts create jobs despite the fact that there is ZERO evidence supporting that claim. Reagan's tax cuts produced not just one but two recessions. Clinton raised taxes and yet the economy boomed in the 90s. Bush Jr. gave tax cuts and yet finished his first term with a net loss of jobs and his second term plunged us into the greatest recession since the Great Depression! Those are the facts! Tax cuts helping the economy is a MYTH!

    December 14, 2010 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  10. GonzoinHouston

    While I dread the thought of agreeing with any of the TP's, I still think they ought to kill this bill. The republicans have really embarrassed themselves by demonstrating how much they will give up just to get the tax cuts for the top 2%. The voted down the tax cut for "just" 98%, and have vehemently opposed everything else in the bill for the past two years. Now they're falling all over themselves to give up everything. After campaigning non-stop against government spending and debt, and telling us all how they will put a stop to such nonsense, they are ready to add to the debt to the tune of more than TARP and the Obama Stimulus COMBINED. "A return to conservative principles"? Yeah, right the principle that the rich get it all and the rest be damned!

    One word for all the TP's and others who bought the GOP line in November – SUCKERS!

    December 14, 2010 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  11. Bob

    Politics as usual. The only real solution is major cuts at the bottom. Keep the Bush tax cuts, double all of the income tax brackets in range, and add an extra slightly higher bracket around 2 or 3 million to make the difference. Money will flood up instead of trickle down and the top bracket will make more money than they spend in extra taxes. Couple this with reigning in spending and the economy will go gangbusters and everyone will be better off. Of course, everyone on both sides would rather play class warfare, mis-characterize how taxes are calculated, and accomplish nothing but changing the paperwork everyone has to fill out a little bit.

    December 14, 2010 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |