With another day for the GOP to digest House Speaker John Boehner’s Plan B for the fiscal cliff, conservative opposition has only hardened to the possibility of extending the Bush-era tax cuts for everyone making under $1 million a year.
Freedomworks, a conservative group closely associated with the Tea Party, made a Thursday-morning switch from recommending a ‘yes’ vote on Plan B to withdrawing their support. “After review of the Boehner Plan B legislation, pending in the House today, FreedomWorks has found it must oppose the legislation,” the group’s vice president, Dean Clancy, wrote on their website at 1:30 Thursday afternoon.
“Once again, the Republican establishment is negotiating with itself. The $16 trillion monstrosity that is our current national debt is a product of spending too much, not taxing too little,” FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe said in a press release distributed later in the afternoon after the announcement of the switch. “Until a plan is put on the table that commits Congress to at least finding the promised $1.2 trillion in sequester savings, anything else can be considered ‘Plan J,’ for joke.”
Club for Growth, which joined with more than 20 conservative groups on Wednesday to oppose the plan, is maintaining its opposition to Plan B but also telling members of the House to vote ‘no’ on the Sequester Replacement Act. The measure was added Wednesday to assuage Republican lawmakers’ concerns that Plan B was not accompanied by any spending cuts.
“House leaders are refusing to make all of the necessary spending cuts now and instead are promising to make the cuts in a future Congress. They will try to claim that they aren't breaking the sequester because they actually cut more than the $1.2 trillion required over ten years. But this is misleading,” the Club for Growth Blog says. “They don't want to make all of the FY13 cuts, so they are pushing them into the future. This is a direct violation of the promise they made to the public last year.”
Republicans can claim cover from two sources: Americans for Tax Reform, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist’s group, which argued Wednesday morning that Plan B does not violate their anti-tax pledge because it seeks to prevent a tax hike on most Americans; and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which backed the bill as a “viable option” on Thursday while expressing concern that it does nothing to adjust the long-term drivers of government spending.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor insists that there are sufficient votes for Plan B to pass the House, but the threat from the right has done nothing but solidify during the course of the day. Erick Erickson, editor of the conservative RedState blog, published a list of the members he says will vote against the bill. “Please call the good guys up and urge them to stay strong and resist the pressure from the leadership team to cave,” Erickson implored his readers.
Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., who plans to vote against Plan B and the sequester bill, said leadership knew where he stood and didn’t try to get him to move.
“Well they’re trying to get the votes whatever way they can, that’s what they have to do, and I don’t blame them for that. But when I say 'no,' they know I mean 'no' and they don’t bother me about that.”