Romney announces opposition to tax deal, in major blow to GOP’s united front

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on Tuesday came out against the tax deal reached between President Obama and congressional Republicans, saying the temporary nature of the tax rate extension would limit the positive economic impact and correspondingly make the deficit worse.

Romney’s move has the potential to spur broader opposition to the deal among Republican lawmakers than has previously been seen, and is clearly intended by the former Massachusetts governor as a play for support from Tea Party and grassroots conservatives.

“What some are calling a grand compromise is not grand at all, except in its price tag,” Romney wrote in an op-ed published by USA Today. “The total package will cost nearly $1 trillion, resulting in substantial new borrowing at a time when we are already drowning in red ink.”

Romney argued that while “in many cases, lowering taxes can actually increase government revenues,” because the extension of current tax rates is only for two years, the economic growth that would have been created by a permanent extension would fall far short of producing the kind of tax revenues needed to reduce the deficit and debt.

“While the tax deal will succeed in temporarily putting more money in the hands of consumers, it will fail to deliver its full potential for creating lasting growth,” Romney wrote.

Romney also staked out an unmistakably hard line conservative position on unemployment benefits, which the tax deal would extend for 13 months. While he acknowledged that joblessness can produce “heartbreak,” he said that longer term government benefits “actually serve to discourage some individuals from taking jobs, especially when the benefits extend across years.”

He proposed to establish “employment savings accounts” to replace government-provided benefits. And he took clear aim at the component of the deal that is most egregious to many conservatives: the unpaid for unemployment insurance spending.

“In spending $56.5 billion to extend benefits, the deal is sacrificing the bedrock Republican principle that new expenditures be paid for with offsetting budget cuts,” he said.

Prior to Romney’s bombshell on Monday, House leaders from both parties told The Daily Caller that the tax deal would clear the House as soon as the end of this week by a relatively slim margin, with a margin for error of roughly 20 votes or so.

The Senate voted overwhelmingly, 83 to 15, to end debate on the measure and move toward a final vote on passage, which will take place either late Tuesday or Wednesday morning.

In the House, the measure needs 218 votes to pass. Key Democrats and Republicans estimated that combined they will have about 240 votes.

House Democrats told TheDC they expect to have about 100 votes in favor of the measure, which is far less than half of the 255-member caucus. House Republicans are expected to support the measure in far greater numbers, with only between 20 and 40 of their 179 members voting against it, a knowledgeable Capitol Hill Republican said.

But if 40 House Republicans do turn against the bill, and support for the deal erodes with House Democrats under the 100-vote mark, the bill could potentially land in some hot water.

That scenario is now far more likely thanks to Romney’s break with the agreement.

  • BASavage

    It seems to me that the age old addage of “to find the conservatives, just follow the blood trail” is true. A party devided against its self cannot stand. We saw that in 2006 and in 2008. We even saw a bit of it in 2010 Senate races. If we would have stood together in 06,08, and in 5 Senatorial races we woulndn’t have deficits as high as we do. We wouldn’t have homosexuals openly serving in the military. We wouldn’t have Obamacare.

    Why do I say this? In 2004 we still had control of both houses. In 06 we lost it primarily due to the fact that the media and those calling themselves “true conservatives” devided the ranks of the Republican party. Had we not lost in 06 we wouldn’t have even talked about all these issues. Yes, TARP 1 would have passed, just like Reagan passed the bailout of Chrysler, however we wouldn’t have had TARP 2 and “Stimulus Package”,Obamacare,DADT repealed and two of the most unqualified people to sit on SCOTUS in a century.

    The logic of the “true conservatives” was and still seems to be lets let the Progressives in the Democratic party run amok and we will fix it later. This could be the equivalent of intentionally getting cancer and going through Chemo to get rid of it. The flaw? Cancer most of the time never really goes away it goes into remission.

    With all this infighting I must use this famous quote: “I have seen the enemy and it is us”. If we don’t end this infighting and absolute attitudes Obama will be re-elected in 2012 and if we lose the house and senate again it will be only worse. As in the words of the great Ronald Reagan we need to bring back his attitude of “Never talk bad about another Republican.”

  • Pingback: Dead Cats: Taxes, 12/15/10, (3)89 James Brody | Dead Cats & Clippings

  • Sonny119

    Let’s see his campaign slogan for 2012.. “I was for it, before I was against it”.. it seems to me, I heard that somewhere before… Oh yeah, Kerry and Romney, 2 identical Liberal Mass. loser Politicians…

    I can almost see the TV Ads now..

    “Obamacare, and now Romneycare.. “America neither wants, nor afford, either of them, and their massive Socialist Marxist Multi-Trillion Dollar UHC bankrupting Catastrophic Disaster.!!”