November 28th, 2012
09:23 PM ET
1 year ago

Cole defends position on tax compromise in fiscal cliff battle

(CNN) – Republican Rep. Tom Cole, who drew sharp disagreement from House Speaker John Boehner when he broke from party lines in the fiscal cliff negotiations, further stood by his position Wednesday night but added he would support the GOP no matter what decision was reached.

"I'm one voice. I'm not king of the universe, and I support my speaker," Cole, from Oklahoma, said on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360." "I recognize he's the speaker. I support my conference."

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In the fiscal cliff debate, Republicans and Democrats disagree over whether the Bush-era tax cuts should expire on the wealthy. President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats want to let tax rates increase for households making more than $250,000, while House Republicans insist the tax rates should stay in place for all Americans, including the highest income earners.

Cole sparked a wave of frustration Wednesday among GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill when comments he made at a private meeting were leaked and reported. The congressman had said he thought they should extend just the tax-rate cuts for those making $250,000 or less by the end of year and hash out a deal for the wealthy at a later date - a position that Democrats support.

"If we agree that taxes shouldn't go up on 98% of the people, shouldn't we take that now and get that set aside and make sure that they know they're taxes aren't going up?" Cole said on CNN.

Republicans, including Boehner, expressed disagreement with the approach, saying they should stand firm in getting a deal now that includes tax breaks for everyone, not just the middle class.

But Cole argued such a strategy was too risky.

"I don't think you ever use the American people as a hostage in a negotiating-type situation," he said.

Cole insisted he still opposes raising taxes on the wealthy but prefers to take care of the rest of Americans now before the tax cuts expire at the start of 2013 as part of the "fiscal cliff."

Asked about Grover Norquist, the anti-tax heavyweight known for persuading Republicans to sign a pledge against raising taxes, Cole said he "admires" Norquist and considers him a friend but disagrees his position flies in the face of the pledge.

"I signed that pledge; I'm honored to do it. I don't think in this case we would be breaking it by making what are temporary tax cuts permanent. I think we'd be doing the right thing," he said. "I want to make all of them permanent, quite frankly. So this is a really a debate about political tactics; it's not a difference over political ideology."

Earlier in the day Cole told reporters that spending cuts and entitlement reform should still get serious attention, but added the tactic could spare concerns among "a lot of people whose taxes we don't intend to raise."

– CNN Senior Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.


Filed under: Anderson Cooper 360 • Fiscal Cliff • House • John Boehner
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. John

    If you Republican keep listening to John Boehner you Republican will lose control In 2014. Enjoy your Jobs while you have It.

    November 28, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  2. Squigman

    I am one voice. I'm not the king of the universe. Well said. Now get Boehner, to say the same, and live up to what he said. Good Luck.

    November 28, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  3. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It is nice to see a Republican stating something that makes a bit of sense unlike people like Inhofe.

    November 28, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  4. bwanadave

    If the GOP can't hold the line and stand on the principal they are worthless traitors. No more votes for any of them. Either we are a country where all are created equal or we fall into endless class warfare.

    November 28, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  5. judy

    any republican that is reasonable and wants to work with the president gets shot down by his party. They don/t care about the middle class .

    November 28, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  6. Iamnotfooled

    Stop Acting Like Children Congress and get Something Done!

    November 28, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  7. Loida

    Majority of the people vote for President Obama on his proposal to increase taxes on people who can Afford way much more... yet The Republicans forgot what the American People want .....Why are they making this an argument ? Are they hoping this way they can cut Medicare and Social Security for Older and a nobody Americans who after years of hardwork and pay taxes don't deserve to live? Anyway creating jobs offshore salary close to making like a

    slave won't be able to make them a consumer..,,,Of course other Countries really depend to the U.S.to consumer

    November 29, 2012 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  8. what the heck is going on around here

    Democrats are a joke. First they say tax cuts don't create jobs, then they don't want to increase taxes because they are afraid it'll raise unemployment and cause a recession. So they believe and agree that raising taxes DOES COST jobs but cutting taxes doesn't have the opposite affect. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that they do not want to admit the latter because it doesn't jive with their contorted political philosophy. That contorted political philosophy has lead us to the current fiscal cliff. We must all be insane to be allowing the Democrats any say in our country's financial future. They won't even pass a budget, the first step to fiscal responsibility.

    November 29, 2012 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
  9. slamboto

    I hope that America is really watching this. We have no one to blame but ourselves for this mess. We keep sending the same people back up there with the tired ole line about "give us one more chance". Honor the constitution and honor term limits America. Ben Franklin knew the character of these people when he said the constitution would be the second greatest document ever written but ultimatlely would fail because of the corruptability of our politicians and that we would turn to despots because only despots can govern the corrupt. Vote against incumbancy and save our nation from these people.

    November 29, 2012 02:51 am at 2:51 am |
  10. Marry

    Somehow this describes the GOP: One step forward – two steps backwards. They just do not deserve the chance they got to start “WORK” for the people! It just is not in their DNA! The GOP is the real "welfare queen" in our country! 2014…

    November 29, 2012 03:21 am at 3:21 am |
  11. Marie MD

    Morsi and norquist are twins separated at birth. Our misfortune is that one of them is in the US and has become the biggest traitor to our country since the mutant from AK and her independent party affiliation.

    November 29, 2012 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  12. jkane sfl gop mascots the blubbering slobs allen west rover nitwitquest rick scott ,carl rove and donald dump ??????

    Why does the braindead gop keep insisting that raising taxes on the super rich 2% will hurt job creation when people like romney the tax cheat keep their money off shore ,only demand from the middle class creates jobs and the gop bogus claim about taxing the rich has been worn out in the last two years .this is all about their anti tax pledge to norquest the Moslem anti American tax lobbyist who makes his money from companies that tries to buy. The votes of our congressman through blackmail which is a crime . FBI,where are you ???????

    November 29, 2012 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  13. Richard Head

    Get it done or resign if you're not going to do your jobs obstructionis gop/teabaggers!

    November 29, 2012 07:39 am at 7:39 am |