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. Facts don't Lie

    @ Wilson....

    I am sure you don't see it but there is a great irony of someone like you talking about an "illiterate society". Look it up!

    December 13, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  2. Dr Matrix

    So repubs have no control in the negotiations? If that were true we wouldn't be facing this "fiscal cliff". The dems would just have their way. The automatic cuts were negotiated last time to appease the repubs and get something accomplished. Now it bites them in the butt. The tea party would love to see this country crash and burn just to be able to say I told you so. All of these steamers in DC need to pull their heads out of their butts and take a look at history and see how congress worked together in the past, even their beloved RR. Most of us learned how to play with others in grade school, these politicians must have been home schooled and never had to get along with 29 other kids.

    December 13, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  3. Justin

    Good riddance to bad rubbish

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

    Its hot the beginning of the end for the Tea Party, but rather the end of the beginning.

    December 13, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  5. jinx88

    More of these Teabaggers will be gone in 2014.

    December 13, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  6. M

    The Tea Party reminds me of the spoiled kid who says that, if the game isn't played the way he wants to play it, he'll take his ball and leave. And I have one message for these people: if you want to hold firm to your principles and not compromise, go right ahead. There will be pain, and the economy might suffer just as it's starting to turn around, but you can then explain to people how your principles had to be placed above their well-being.

    December 13, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  7. jinx88

    "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. LMAO!!! Finally these Repug scrubs are coming around. The Majority of Americans dont want what the Repugs have to offer, if they did Mittens would be president.

    December 13, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  8. charles bowen

    The Tea Party = Old Farts with No Hearts .....Self centered, Self important, Self indulgent, Where Is The Love Brothers and Sisters, Where Is the Love ? Charles Bowen Solomon Stone

    December 13, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  9. Ben Thare

    I think the Tea Party's tea is laced with crystal meth.

    December 13, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  10. blf83

    Tea Party??? The recent election diluted and cooled their "tea", but didn't quite ice it. Perhaps they are growing up to recognize that refusing any compromise is tyranny, not liberty.

    December 13, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  11. mcwsunshine

    I can see why you are named anonymous. While I am not a tea-partier, I think they have the only answer to curing the fiscal insanity that has reigned for that last four years and that is...Cut the spending, stop taxing people to death, and set the country on a plan to balance the budget. When all the leftist world was calling the tea party members and Sarah Palin stupid, and ignorant and worse, a study was done that determined that a cross-section of the tea party members were found to be of above average intelligence. Never was one person arrested at a tea party rally, so if you want to see an out-of control mob, look no farther than the Obama-supported union thugs that brought a tent down on top of the heads of women and children and and the elderly in wheel chairs. Now that each of your statements have been thoroughly debunked by fact, maybe you want to pull the nazi card, or how 'bout the race card? You could always blame President Bush, hahahahaha

    December 13, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  12. Ratified1791

    More fantasy from the CNN dept of obama propaganda.

    Tea Party Queen Governor Palin installed TWO SENATORS with Deb Fisher in Nebraska and Ted Cruz in Texas along with another Congressman Yoho in Florida that makes her endorsements successes no 75%

    December 13, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  13. John the Historian

    When do Republicans learn that they are only the party of the Christian Right who want a theocracy and a ban on all abortions even in cases of rape and incest and deformities, the military-industrial complex who want a war with Iran, a country of 80 million people, hell the USA could not handle the 29 million in Iraq, the party of the billionaires who don't want to pay their fair share of taxes like Willard and his 14 percent and his Swiss bank accounts, and the party of Wall Street who wants bonuses for declaring bankruptcy and getting federal bailouts and then lay people off. Republicans the 1950s are over. Watch the movie Pleasantville and learn about diversity. The Republican dream of a Confederate Theocracy will never happen. Glad Willard is going to kolob.

    December 13, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  14. Ratified1791

    ALL the power rests in TH REPUBLICAN CONGRESS and only "little boys" who can't lead (Boehner) don't realize the fact that fiscal conservatives can FORCE Obumbles to look like an ADHD child on an allowance.

    December 13, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  15. MIJohn

    Keep it up morons. At this rate we can commit the entire Tea Party "movement" to an asylum as dangerous lunatics. They've already demonstrated classic paranoia and narcissism – now they're revealing that they're afflicted with delusions.

    December 13, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  16. rich

    The tea party doesn't even know that big money is funding their voting to say nothing about knowing they are voting against their own best interest...just sayin...Kinda like hanging around the big house to see if the massa would throw out a few scraps...

    December 13, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  17. The Real Tom Paine


    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.
    The Tea Party movement was born out of anger: the images of them spitting on black members of Congress, threatening people in town hall meetings, stomping on folks during the 2010 midterms is NOT the actions of a peaceful group of people that repects the opinions of others. When the GOP sets out, before Obama is even innaugurated, to do anything in its means short of armed revolt to derail President Obama, that is is not the hallmark of a peace-loving group. There are a lot of vets on the Democratic side as well, people, who are sick of the party that sends our young people to die abroad, and forgets them the second they come home.The language of the Right is sneering condescension, anger and contempt, and its displayed every day on these pages. They seemed truly astonished that people object to the tone and the content of their views, and that anyone who disagrees with them are deranged: their derangement is on full display. Just because your langange is stolen from the Bible and wrapped in a flag does NOT mean you understand its meaning or context.

    December 13, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  18. Marlene the Dream

    Hmmm...note to self regarding Rep. Jim Jordan – vote him out in 2014 ~ ~ !!!!

    December 13, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  19. DumbasRocks [R]s

    The Teatards are taking a real beating on this forum. 1st, they are in a clear and diminishing minority, as it becomes ever more embarrassing to be associated with their inconsistent, hypocritical rhetoric. 2nd, the few slack-jaws who have posted on here did so at about an elementary school level, with no substance and no cogent analysis of facts, even the ones they make up out of thin air.

    These Teatards serve no other purpose now in the public domain than to be poster-children for the malignant rightwing and therefore provide clear motivation for voting democratic in the next election. For that, I do praise god that teatards are stupid enough to be so willing to prove it publicly in open forums like this one.

    December 13, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  20. Marcy Fleming

    The Tea Party is a mixed bag of libertarians co-mingled with social conservative. But the anti-Tea Party comments posted here by total morons who have no virtues at all. Spend and spend, tax and tax and elect & elect is a paradigm that is going to hit the wall of fiscal reality. In five years they will be hunting Democrats with dogs.

    December 13, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  21. Repubs in bind

    what's got the repub's in a bind is that sequestation cuts the defense budget which they can't allow to happen because their master donors like the Adelsons won't keep contributing if they defund the trillion dollar wars in the middle east.

    December 13, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  22. lawrence

    I remain perplexed that we are asking Americans to pay more to a bloated and overspending government rather than cut spending. Why not show meaningful and strong cuts in spending to get this bloated animal we call the federal government leaner. then ask hard working Americans to pay more if needed. This backwards approach only will engender the tax and spend liberals and conservatives alike to continue to spend more and more.

    December 13, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  23. lawrence

    One question for the left-how much is enough for a worker to pay making 250K of his salary to the feds? Currently over a third of the pay goes to DC. Why not tak 100% to pay for your "balanced approach"? Ridiculous.

    December 13, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  24. dick

    why is it so tough for everyone to admit that this `tea party` is nothing more than a rebranding of the KKK.

    December 13, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  25. Sumsanity

    No, No , no. The TEA in Tea Party stands for Taxed Enough Already, those of you who think you are getting a good return on investment from our elected officials and government bureaucrats feel free to donate your spare cash to them. Or if you are a recipient of government largesse you probably want everyone else's taxes to go up to secure your income and since you don't pay taxes it's no skin off of your nose. Third possibility, you are a totally brainwashed liberal lemming or a Union thug.

    December 13, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
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