The tea party joined in today to the growing bipartisan opposition to the tax-cut compromise that President Obama and congressional Republican leaders hammered out, which comes up for a test vote in the Senate this afternoon.
Grouping with liberal Democrats who have set off a mutiny on Capitol Hill and a growing list of conservative groups, the Tea Party Patriots—often hailed as the founding organization of the conservative insurgent movement—opened fire today in a petition that slammed the plan.
“This ‘backroom deal’ ignores those who voted for principled leadership on Election Day,” Mark Meckler, national coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots, said in a press release. “Americans demand transparency in the legislative process and policies that reflect fiscal responsibility—not secret negotiations and weak compromise.”
The Richmond (Va.) Tea Party also issued a statement today, accusing Republican lawmakers of failing to “learn the lessons of the November midterm elections.”
Not all tea partiers agree. Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., who enjoyed massive tea party support in November, announced his support for the plan earlier today. Last week, Rep.-elect Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., also a tea party favorite, told National Journal that he also favored the compromise, which extends tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush as well as jobless benefits.
“Personally, I am happy with the deal, as I actually supported extending the unemployment benefits one more time,” Kinzinger said. “The economy is very fragile, and this is a good first step toward encouraging growth.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said today that sentiment on the political left is just as divided, but that he expects it to pass “with changes.”
“I think the outcome of the tax negotiations between President Obama and Republicans is mixed,” Hoyer said. “On one hand, I think that extending unemployment insurance, cutting payroll taxes, and keeping taxes low on income under $250,000 are all proven steps to grow the economy, help families in need, and create jobs. But I simply do not believe that the deep debt that comes from Republican upper-income and estate tax cuts is worth their minimal impact on job creation.
“That’s why this deal is giving Democrats such pause,” Hoyer continued. “Having said that, I believe that action is necessary and compromise was inevitable.”