Anger at tax cut proposal: strange political bedfellows
December 9th, 2010
05:42 PM ET
12 years ago

Anger at tax cut proposal: strange political bedfellows

Washington (CNN) - It is strange political bedfellows. Some on the right are joining their usual adversaries on the left in their anger at the proposed tax cut deal.

Of course, the reasons for their dismay are different. While liberals wail at the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for those making more than $250,000 per year and other items, many s are particularly upset that the measure would add hundreds of billions of dollars to the deficit.

Several conservatives, including Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-Minnesota, are especially concerned the measure extends unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed without any offsetting spending cuts. A spokesman for her said she has not decided how she will vote until she sees the final legislation.

Leaders of the Tea Party Patriots group have sent an email to its supporters laying out some of the problems with the proposal and asking them whether they should oppose it.

"I am very upset. It is a direct breach of the Republican pledge not to add to the deficit," Mark Meckler of the Tea Party Patriots group, said.

"You have Republicans coming out of the gate breaching the pledge they made not to add to the deficit," Meckler said.

Republican leaders countered they are not in charge of the House yet and have vowed there will be more fiscal control once the GOP takes control next month.

Several activists and Republican members of Congress are upset that the measure re-instates the estate tax which had expired.

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, vowed earlier this week to filibuster the tax cut bill to prevent a vote on the Senate floor. He said those who ran on the right in the election said they would not vote for anything that increased the deficit. "This does. It raises taxes, it raises the death tax," he told conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday.

Club For Growth, a fiscally conservative group that promotes limited government, declared this week its opposition to the tax cut compromise.

"This is bad policy, bad politics, and a bad deal for the American people," Chris Chocola, president of the group, said. "The plan would resurrect the death tax, grow government, blow a hole in the deficit with unpaid-for spending and do so without providing the permanent relief and security our economy needs to finally start hiring and growing again."

Senator-Elect Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, said Wednesday he would vote against the bill if he was already sworn in.

"One of my biggest concerns is the deficit. So, I think if you're going to extend and add new tax cuts, you should couple them with cuts in spending. Instead, we're coupling them with increases in spending, and I think that's the wrong thing to do," Paul told CNN's "The Situation Room."

Other Republicans counter the negative parts of the bill should be accepted in order to prevent bigger problems.

"There is concern that has been raised ... the question is whether more economic damage to the U.S., to the U.S. economy by allowing the tax increases to go into effect" if the tax cuts are not extended, Rep. Dan Lungren, R-California, said.

Another issue of concern to some tea party activists is that they see this effort as another deal brokered in the back rooms in Washington.

"This reeks as politics as usual," Meckler said. "There is zero transparency."

"We knew we would see politics as usual from the Democrats. For the Republicans we expected to see something different," Meckler said. "There is a lot more housecleaning that needs to be done in 2012."

All of the activists are happy there is at least an short-term extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, but they would like to see them be made permanent – and none of them complained that those tax cuts are not paid for in the new legislation.

A spokesman for the Tea Party Express group said it sees the proposal as a small victory and better than nothing, although it is worried since it hasn't seen the final bill and therefore some of the provisions could change.

Tennessee tea party activist Mark Skoda called the proposal a practical and pragmatic compromise. While he shared the concern about the growth it will cause in the deficit, at the end this was a necessary step.

"The real question is whether the next Congress can take bold steps to reduce the deficit," Skoda said.

Filed under: Republicans • Tax deal • Tea Party movement
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Bob in PA

    Every citizen is able to make a payment that will be applied towards the national debt. Now, all you whiny libs place your wallets where you mouths are and put forth what you feel you should be paying.

    December 9, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  2. Frank

    Fine put if off until January when all the newbies land in Congress. It really won't be a good deal then for the professional spenders & tax lovers. This is why we all voted in November and I am looking forward to the change – gridlock and slashed spending.

    December 9, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  3. Shari from Madison

    Strange bedfellows indeed. The repugnant republican's don't want any tax increases. They want social programs that help many people reduced or eliminated. They don't care who doesn't get help when it is needed, they just want to make more and more money for themselves. To he–l with the rest of us. The democrats want tax increases for those who already have more money than most of us in the US. I agree with this, but the democrats would rather see them middle class be taxed more than accept a reasonable compromise. The Repubs and the Democrats are so polarized that the center does not hold. For those of you who have seen and/or read Stephen King's the Stand, I think you will remember what happened to the country when it's center didn't stand!

    December 9, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  4. Rickster

    Today, President Obama finally admitted that if the Democrats’ job-killing tax hikes are not stopped, “Americans will see it in smaller paychecks that will have the effect of fewer jobs,” just as Republicans have argued all year. Unfortunately, despite the President’s admission that the looming tax hikes will kill jobs, many members of his party remain steadfast in their opposition to stopping the tax hikes – ignoring the will of the American people and putting their own agenda ahead of the need to prevent more American jobs from being destroyed.

    December 9, 2010 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  5. Paul Ernest Show

    The nation has arrived at a huge financial and political quagmire. If you stop 5 million people from spending, obviously you risk further slowing down recovery. And equally infuriating millions who depend on unemployment for living, loosing their support.
    And if you insist that the tax cuts on the most wealthy be revised, you risk GOP fillibuster of all other bills before congress and the GOP, business constituency. In my opinion, I think it's a shame and betrayal of the American people, that their livelihood is being traded for tax reduction on millionaires and billionaires. The president should simply compromise at 1 million. Anyone making more than that should pay more in taxes, instead of this dead giveaway. I understand his fears. Now, it's up to the "ever silent Dems" to get up and fight. The challenge's theirs. There's still room for compromise.

    December 9, 2010 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  6. Scott

    These Democrats just don't get it. They talk about the "tax cuts" for the wealthy, but nobody seems to acknowledge that the wealthy already pay taxes at a higher rate than everyone else. As if taking more than a 1/3 of someones income is an injustice, just because they're smarter, took a risk that paid off, or worked a little harder than everyone else. Last time I checked, not many people in the 10% or 15% tax bracket were creating any new jobs!

    December 9, 2010 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  7. Ina Jordan

    As a Democrat, I support the President's efforts in cutting taxes and collaborating with Republicans. What I object to is funding the tax bill by borrowing money from China. We already have loans from China. Given China's pledged alliance to North Korea, I would not borrow any more money from China. It would make the United States more vunerable.

    December 9, 2010 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  8. CaliforniaBC

    This goes to show that the republicans are NOT listening to the people like the screamed they would during the elections. The majority of people are AGAINST the tax cuts to the rich PERIOD! Plus, it's rather ironic that the GOP blocked benefits for seniors who were a big force in getting them elected this year because they said it cost too much BUT they were fine with giving hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to the rich WITHOUT paying for them.

    Anyone regretting their voting decisions yet??

    December 9, 2010 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  9. Seattle Sue

    I thought the American Taliban (AKA Republicans) were all for reducing the deficit not increasing it by 900 billion dollars in just two years. But I guess if it benefits their wealthy Masters then it's all justified. Why do they keep harping that it will create jobs when anybody with half a brain knows that the cuts have been in place for nearly 10 years and look at the mess the unemployment is. There was only 1.1 million jobs created under 8 years of G.W. Bush, the lowest since Herbert Hoover (1929-1933). But the American Taliban will hold working Americans hostage to make the rich richer.

    December 9, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |