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. Pete

    The teaparty want lower taxes,less spending but as long as lobbyist are in Washington the spending will go on...Republicans complain of big government but it was Bushs policies that actually bloated government and Pres.Obama actually cut many a government job since being president,just check how many !!If you want less spending quit with foriegn aid unless you get something in return..Quit giving help in welfare,Medicaid and other programs to red states,they give little in revenue but get the bulk in government handouts,that's where most of your tax dollars are going plus trim military because its as big as Cristies belly ,big and useless unless you intend to have wars every so often just for kicks!!

    December 13, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  2. tiredofbias44

    Let's see . The CNN is writing this story were early cynics who said the Tea Party would never become anything. They were wrong. They are the ones that got thrills up their legs for Occupy Wall Street supposing some high moral purpose. They were wrong. Occupy movements is simply a bunch poorly raised twerps whose biggest achievement was to defecate in public and grow up to be wife beaters. Now CNN is prophesying the death of the Tea Party. CNN does not mind being wrong.

    December 13, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  3. DDW

    The Tea Party is finished, their uncompromising approach to leading has failed and very nearly finished the Republican party as well. If the party of NO continues to say NO to every proposal sent to them 2014 will be a very bad year for the Republicans.

    December 13, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  4. Margo

    The tea party is no more than a new version of the christian coalition. They are a bunch of fanatics trying to shove their values down the throats of all of us and we don't care about them and do not intend to adopt their doctrine. They all need to be voted out of office and hey why don't they just start their own little club and whoever wants can be a part of it and they can spend their time influencing each other and leave us alone.

    December 13, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  5. Voter

    When the U.S. is broke because the Dems have spent and borrowed every penny they can, but make no real changes on spending reform; then we will be going over a REAL fiscal cliff.

    December 13, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  6. Reasonable Man

    Good bye you traitorous bunch of whack jobs!

    December 13, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  7. hypatia

    You mean they finally have to work for a living?

    December 13, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  8. steve harnack

    The Koch brothers have postponed their usual meeting because they say that they are still examining the results of the last election. Since the results are open and obvious what they mean is that they are looking at where they wasted money and the TeaParty is one obvious place. I look for the funds supporting this Union of Useful Fools to completely dry up soon and they will disappear like so many of their predecessors. Blind anger can't sustain itself.

    December 13, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  9. lewis

    Now Americans are truly seeing the Teaparty for what it really is a bunch of old white rich folks that could care less for all of us hard working people. They are in it to totally protect the rich!
    Middle class America wake up and smell "STUFF"

    December 13, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  10. mrgmorgan56

    The Tea Party...what a sad, pitiful joke...

    December 13, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |

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

    December 13, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
    Umm. Big D = Big Dummy?

    December 13, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  12. DDW

    Bob, you shouldn't have given corporations the idea of voting. Now they will put that measure before the very same gang that gave them the same rights as people. The same gang that allowed unlimited political funding in our elections.

    December 13, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  13. MakeThemEatCake

    "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.

    "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.

    Here's a novel idea for the republican side of the aisle. COMPROMISE on legislation. the line they have drawn in the sand regarding adding revenue, a line they will not compromise on, holds up the passage of any bill, too. Closing loopholes in the tax code is all fine and good. but eliminating deductions like mortgage interest is directed solely at the middle class. Inch up the taxes on capital gains and/or stock dividends THEN talk to me about being serious regarding tax reform. Taxing capital gains will cause people not to invest in business (??). Well, eliminating the mortgage interest deduction will hit the housing market like a runaway train.

    December 13, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  14. NickAnast

    Tea Party Sen. Ron Johnson: "There's only one person that can prevent taxes being raised for the American public." Correct, and his name is John Boehner.

    December 13, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  15. rbnlegen101

    I find it funny that in one post we get "Trying to demean those you don't agree with has become the true democrat party way" and in the next two posts we see repeated use of the word "Lefturd". Yup, it's clearly the democrats demeaning the other side.

    yes, there is plenty of demonizing and belittling, but don't even try to pretend it's one sided. The democrats have started playing some hardball, using tactics taken from the other side, but they still are only putting forth partial effort. The republicans,on the other hand, have really developed a passion for the sort of whining and complaining that the democrats used to be famous for. Watch out, the democrats seem to be figuring out that you win more if you stop playing nice, and republicans gave them plenty of examples to emulate.

    December 13, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  16. Jim Jensen

    They're just a bunch of angry overweight geezers that were poisoned when they were developing children by the lead in gasoline and paint.

    Each election cycle another handful suffers from heart attacks and strokes, and their mob gets smaller.

    Maybe taking away their medicare and social security is the best thing to do.

    December 13, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  17. CSM

    TEA PARTY = CORPORATE PAWNS. It's as simple as that!

    December 13, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  18. me

    Bye bye West. Go further west.

    December 13, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  19. DDW

    Big "D", you lost and YOUR president is black, taxes are going up and America is moving forward. Change is upon us and if you can't embrace change you will go the way of the dinosaur.

    December 13, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  20. David

    Closing "loopholes" as the GOP calls it, is raising taxes. Funny how simply saying everyone from this income level will pay this base tax is bad when increasing the same amount of revenue through the elimination of tax deductions (closing loopholes) is OK.

    December 13, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  21. Norm

    We cant cut taxes and still afford to have these millionaires on the government payroll.
    Its a shame they collect a paycheck and ultra benefits for basically doing nothing.

    December 13, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  22. GetOverItandMoveOn

    The Tea Party moniker was originally given to a single action protesting taxation without representation. It appears that the current Tea Party has chosen the wrong moniker as its members, as citizens, do have representation. It seems then that all the Tea Party really wants is government doing just what the Tea Party wants (or its big money backers). If the Tea Party can’t have government doing exactly what the Tea Party wants with its members' taxes, then it equates that to having no representation at all, and, therefore, the government should be shut down or, at least, create a fiscal disaster… something the original “Sons of Liberty” Tea Party participants did not believe in.

    December 13, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  23. freedom

    @ joe
    And what do you call occupiers and union thugs – refined?

    December 13, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |

    Tea Party? What is the Tea Party? Ohhhhhh those were those loud physcho paths that GUARANTEED Obama would not have a second term because America would believe in their message. Those guys/gals? Obviously they know nothing. Take your loss on the chin Tea Party losers lmao

    December 13, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  25. Brian from DC

    I'd have a little more sympathy for the Tea Partiers if it weren't for the fact that most of them voted for George W. Bush, who spent like a drunken sailor. As it is I thank them wholeheartedly because they pushed the GOP so far to the right that they gave us President Obama for a second term and assured the long-term devaluation of the Republican Party.

    December 13, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
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