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. allenwoll

    " The Tea Party is America ".
    Tee-Hee ! ! !
    THAT is HILARIOUS ! ! ! - AND hallucinatory ! ! !

    December 12, 2012 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  2. lewtwo

    Even more change will come for the tea party in the next congressional elections.
    The Tea Party will eventually sink the GOP.

    December 12, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  3. t3chn0ph0b3

    Make no mistake. The Tea Party wants to eliminate SS and Medicare. If you're a senior in the Tea Party and you use either of those, you're absolutely mental.

    December 12, 2012 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  4. Mike - WA

    Does this mean the Tea Party might attract people who aren't as dumb as a stick?

    December 12, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  5. Jim

    Absolutism is the path to dictatorship. It's what they want, absolute control. I say fire them all, and get people who understand reality in their seats.

    December 12, 2012 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  6. Free Man in the Republic of Texas

    Is the tea party ready to deal on fiscal cliff ???

    TEA PARTY ???
    What Tea Party ???

    Nancy Pelosi TOLD us that it was just Astro-Turf
    Nothing to see here... Move along....
    The real grass roots of america is the Occu-Poopers !!!

    FORWARD > > > > > >
    Union Thugs !!!

    December 12, 2012 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  7. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    These Teapublicans don't understand that people still need support. Until the wealthy fund these social welfare programs, the government is going to need to do them.

    December 12, 2012 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  8. Ancient Texan

    If they "cave" they will be removed from office by their voters back home. The voters said "enough of this wasteful squandering of our tax dollars, no more taxes !!"

    December 12, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  9. AK_steve

    So West looses and the whine and cries and quits early. You sure pic the winners Tea Party. What happens if the GOP decides to tax the top 2%? The sake of the country, I hope you are like West and just pack up and leave. In two years you ruined are credit rating and made congress the most dysfunctional congress in history.

    December 12, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  10. John N Florida

    The Tea Party is dying an ignominious death. After all, of what use is a used tea bag except as fertilizer?

    December 12, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |

    Republicants are always scheming to lie or steal or both, as for as they are concern America can go to hell. Even as we speak
    red states rethugs are scheming to gerrymander the state for the 2016 election. They still will lose the election but, the propensity to lie and steal in order to serve themselves is insultingly appalling. Do we want to continue electing people like Scott Walker, Rick Scott, and other rethuglican governors who primary job is to steal elections, bust unions and keep our women in bedroom slippers. They will fail and they will eventually be turned out by the electorate. WE ARE NOT GOING BACK!
    FORWARD! March..

    December 12, 2012 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  12. J

    Allen West is being paid by taxpayers till January, maybe he should finish his job.

    December 12, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  13. jerseydevils76

    They're no different than Obama and the Liberals in the Senate. Both are stubborn. The only difference is mainstream media favors the Liberals. Obama can counter with requiring ownership of all Congressman's first born and the media will still say Congress won't bend.

    December 12, 2012 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  14. Mike Fleissner

    Good to see that the senator from my state seems to be recognizing reality. I can't call him my senator. He only cares about the koch bros. astroturf tea party people who support him. He has accomplished nothing in the Senate'. Hope he just gets out of the way of some progress.

    December 12, 2012 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  15. tony

    Clearly, the Tea Party think of themselves as an god-like elite, who are not subject to the democracy that the US Constitution embodies.

    I always thought the Second Amendment was their to protect the people against such arrogant governance.

    December 12, 2012 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  16. meetings with not-as remarkable men

    I love the sign "the Tea Party is America" ha ha ha... OK we'll lease you the name while you take a long boat ride south.

    December 12, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  17. Jules

    No cure for crazy. Extreme parties will all fall by the wayside.

    December 12, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  18. Luis

    Either the GOTea get in line behind the President and the will of the majority of people in this country who re-elected him or they can vote against the new MIddle/lower class tax breaks that will have Obama's and DEMs name on it after the fall off this "cliff".

    December 12, 2012 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  19. Dywlf

    True republicanism has no problem with asking for fairness in taxes.

    December 12, 2012 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  20. Bay O. Net

    Voters discovered that Allen West turned out to be one of the most mediocre Congressmen in the history of the United States, so they voted him out of office. He and other Tea Party candidates have demonstrated that they are out of step with Americans when it comes to campaigning for what American wants and governing to achieve what America needs. Good riddance, Mr. West.

    December 12, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  21. Squigman

    Deal? Why would they be in a position to deal on any matter? They lost seats, they lost power, they lost momentum. Why would they have any reason at all to expect a deal?

    December 12, 2012 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  22. bam

    "I'll be clear and I'll say I want my lollipop," Jordan said.

    December 12, 2012 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  23. ToldUso

    The Tea Pansies are going to sign onto the POTUS bill so they can get back to doing what they do best- hating minorities, unions, and non-Christians.

    December 12, 2012 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  24. stephen48739

    What our country needs is a President like Dwight D. Eisenhower. A moderate with the common sense of an old soldier. I liked Ike.

    December 12, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  25. Get in line

    Get in line republicans or your basically forfeiting the next election. As a republican of 30 years, I cant believe the extreme stances my party has taken. You guys dont think the voting public will remember this in 4 years? get real.

    December 12, 2012 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
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