Is the tea party ready to deal on fiscal cliff?
December 12th, 2012
08:00 PM ET
10 years ago

Is the tea party ready to deal on fiscal cliff?

Washington (CNN) - For the tea party movement, change is brewing on Capitol Hill.

Florida Republican Rep. Allen West, who rode the conservative wave into the House of Representatives two years ago only to be swept away in November, has already moved out of his office.

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When CNN paid a visit to the outgoing freshman lawmaker's office, a painting crew was prepping the space for its new occupant. Boxes and furniture were in the hallway. Staff members were gone. Through a spokeswoman, West declined to be interviewed for this story.

For some tea party backed lawmakers who remain in their seats, the movement appears to be shifting toward a compromise on the fiscal cliff, or at least allowing one to pass.

"We have to understand and bow to reality at some point in time. Republicans have no power in this negotiation," Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, told CNN.

Johnson said he would not use his filibuster power to block a vote on a compromise that raises taxes. The Republican senator indicated that is one such scenario under discussion among GOP leadership.

"There's only one person that can prevent taxes being raised for the American public. It's the president. Because without any action, without him being willing to sign a bill, taxes go up for every American. I don't want to see that happen," Johnson said.

A handful of tea party aligned members of Congress believe they are being punished for their uncompromising views on taxes and spending by Republican leaders in the House, including Speaker John Boehner.

Last week, Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kansas, and three other House members were booted from their committee assignments in what they believe to be a message from Boehner to get in line for a vote on the fiscal cliff.

Huelskamp has accused the speaker and House leadership of keeping a "scorecard" on lawmakers' votes.

"We have determined that there is some type of secret scorecard," Huelskamp told CNN. "I think there's going to be an attempt to - potentially, I hope not - to push a tax increase through the House and we will see what happens," he added.

Boehner denied he is dropping the hammer in a letter to the lawmakers.

"There is no scorecard or any other single criteria used to determine committee assignments," Boehner's letter reads.

Roughly 18 months after tea party activists rallied on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol and chanted "shut 'er down" during previous budget stand-offs, their conservative favorites in Congress are leaving the door open to compromise, even on the contentious subject of raising tax rates on wealthier Americans.

At a popular regular gathering of tea party backed lawmakers, dubbed "Conversation with Conservatives," Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho said Wednesday his vote hinges on what the president proposes.

"But the problem is that I want to see real cuts. Real cuts. I'm not saying yes and I'm not saying no," Labrador said.

Seated right next to Labrador at the meeting, Rep. Jim Jordan, a Republican from Ohio and fellow tea party favorite, offered no such chance for compromise.

"I'll be clear and I'll say no," Jordan said.

Filed under: Allen West • Congress • Fiscal Cliff • Tea Party
soundoff (443 Responses)
  1. Dave

    When the Bush regime and their Congressional cronies rammed througfh the "Job Creation Act of 2004", it created the tax loss and quite a few adjustments BUT it did NOT create a single job. So lowering the taxes on the wealthy DOESN'T affect jobs in any way. Time to restore taxes to a pre-Reagan level and see what happens.

    December 13, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  2. ellid

    Sorry, but the so-called "tea party" was an astroturf movement financed by the likes of Dick Armey, Grover Norquist, and the followers of Ayn Rand. It did a great job of propagandizing itself to *look* like it was made up of ordinary Americans, but it was about as genuine as a Twinkie pretending to be a from-scratch pastry. It did enormous damage to this country, and I for one am glad to see this particular movement head down the crapper.

    December 13, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  3. DandyDon

    Unfortunately, Allan West proved to be an insulting individual with radical ideas and comments. I'm glad to see him go. The T Party has put themselves above the good of American citizens. We need more of them to "hit the road".

    December 13, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  4. american 69

    The Tea Party can't identify reality. Yelling, screaming, now, this "movement" has been taken over by professional political "consultants" and they are making fortunes using the label.....

    December 13, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  5. Gnatman, Manassas

    Fringe group that stood against unecesssary taxation – – made it easier to raid SSA, Medicare, Military and Civilian Trust Funds to pay for the Bush Tax Cuts.

    December 13, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  6. SteveinMN

    "A handful of tea party aligned members of Congress believe they are being punished for their uncompromising views on taxes and spending..."

    ...ummmm...well..YEAH! Duh. May the beatings continue until these infantile reprobates start doing the work of the people.

    December 13, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  7. Eye Roller

    I can not wait for midterm elections. Let's see how ignoring the will of the people goes for these folks.

    December 13, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  8. Big D

    The fact is Lefturds, if we implemented the fiscal theory of Tea Partiers, the U.S. would be in much better financial shape. God forbid

    December 13, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |

    The tea party folks suddenly find that they are being cuckolded. You get what you pay for.

    December 13, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  10. freedom

    Did someone say fringe? These are Americans who have worked hard every day of their lives, and many have served our country in the military. That isn't something to ridicule. They also express their views peacefully, and not by bullying or becoming violent, like the union workers in Michigan this week, or the occupy group. Trying to demean those you don't agree with has become the true democrat party way – and Obama is leading the pack on that one. No integrity – no honesty – dividing the country – it's disgraceful and damaging.

    December 13, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  11. Big D

    I'm a Tea Partier & I may not like Lefturds but when they make a valid arguement, I listen. The problem with Lefturds is, you can present a valid arguement to them & they don't listen.

    December 13, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  12. Big D

    It's comical reading the posts from all the Lefturds here. You have no idea what you're talking about. Pathetic

    December 13, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  13. fernace

    Wasn't the T-Party the group who said they stood for protecting the average citizen from unfair taxasion? Now they're the party that stands for protecting the upper 2% from Fair taxasion, at the expense of the average citizen! I'm so confused!!

    December 13, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  14. Big D

    Democrats = irresposible, failures & Government dependence. Did I forget anything?

    December 13, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  15. Larry in Houston

    @ jboh – – they were flushed – but they didn't go down the drain (yet) – maybe somebody needs to take a "plunger" ??

    @ slowgun – – my 401 k – when dubya was in office, (2008) stock market was around 5000 – but since obama, it's been around 13,000 or so.

    I will Never, Ever Vote for another republican again.

    December 13, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  16. Sivick

    those morons were used when it was good for the GOP to have them around. now that they're not useful it's time to kick em to the curb, where they should have stayed in the first place because it's clear to everyone now they're fanatics that can't run a stable government.

    December 13, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  17. Thomas

    Dick Armey, Grover Norquist, Jim Demint .


    December 13, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  18. Riptin

    The tea party is the worst group since the McCarthy era. They will stop at nothing to get what they want. The American people came to there senses in this last election. Some of them are already bailing, and the rest we will get rid of in 2014.

    December 13, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |

    Gotta hand it to the teabaggin'teabaggers for their shear teabaggery of all things possible and more!
    Professional stupidity of the billionaires delight....................

    December 13, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |

    The tea potty blew it on Nov 6 along with the rest of the unhinged GOBP. Good riddance.

    December 13, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  21. Gary Bonner

    The Tea Party Movement is a figment of the imagination. It doesn't ACTUALLY exist. The entire "movement" was a well-funded fake-grass-roots ruse to harness the anger of those disenchanted with Obama and afraid of shifting demographic and cultural trends. If you scratch beneath the surface on any of these Tea Party organizations, you will find wealthy contributors and corporations who are bank-rolling the entire movement. The folks who turned out at the rallies foaming at the mouth with outrage and shaking their fists are NOT the folks who pay for this movement. They are mere pawns moved around a political chess board at the whim of the Koch brothers, et. al.

    They new "Tea Party" affiliated congressmen will eventually fall in-line and get with whatever program their financial benefactors place before them, because they are not there to do "the peoples' bidding;" the "people" were merely a means to their end – becoming US Congressmen. PERIOD.

    December 13, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  22. Andrew

    "Reality" and "Tea Party" in same sentence, lol...

    December 13, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  23. joe

    It's time for all of the Mayberry Mafia to pack up and go back hone to the trailer park.

    December 13, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    The Tea Party is neither a political party nor a political movement. It is basically a mob and, like every mob, it's collective intelligence is set by the lowest common denominator. Like every mob also, it can be easily manipulated by emotional appeals. People like the Brothers Koch, whose only political concepts are to remove all obstructions to their pursuit of additional wealth, have exploited these folks into supporting policies that run contrary to their self-interest. They will cntnue to rave on for a while, but as far as setting the poltical agenda, they're done!

    December 13, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  25. The Real Tom Paine

    -Rick McDaniel

    No......the reality is......the socialism is costing more than we take in. It is really about basic can't spend more than you take in.
    Then the GOP are the biggest group of "socialists" in history, since the Red States take more money than they send to DC. Unfunded wars off the books, no-bid contracts, unfunded mandates for education and Medicare, but the defenseless millionaires need their tax cuts and less regulation so they can continue to send our wealth and jobs elsewhere. Class warfare and envy have been perfected by the GOP and their foreign patrons, and the Red-state trailer trash are dumb enough to lap it up like the stooges they are.

    December 13, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
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