A tea party group on Wednesday announced its to intention to oppose Speaker of the House John Boehner and primary any Republican member of Congress who votes for Boehner’s ‘Plan B,’ joining other conservative groups like the Club for Growth who have objected to the Speaker’s back-up plan on the grounds that it would allow taxes to rise on people making over $1 million.
The Speaker’s proposal would extend the Bush Tax Cuts for Americans making less than $1 million a year, while allowing those tax cuts to expire for the upper percentile.
“If press reports about Speaker Boehner’s proposed tax hikes are accurate and there is no immediate commitment from the White House on drastic cuts in entitlements, it’s time for him to hand in the gavel,” said Niger Innis, TheTeaParty.net’s national spokesman, in a statement.
“We have received hundreds of thousands of signed petitions from our members across the country and they do not want a tax hike on Jan. 1. Many of our members are small business owners, and this so-called Plan B will cost Americans their jobs. Conservatives must rally behind a new Speaker if John Boehner continues to refuse to speak for us, and all Americans who are sick of more taxes, more spending, more debt, more government,” he added.
“Not one dime in new taxes, not one nickel in new spending, and for the love of God and the future of our country, not one red cent in new debt. Enough is enough,” echoed Bob Adams, TheTeaParty.net’s Washington spokesman. “What’s at stake here is nothing less than the future of the Republican party as a viable conservative political force.”
Innis said this was not just an empty threat or political posturing.
“The Tea Party has demonstrated its power over the years in primary elections when candidates choose to establish the establishment over conservative principles. They usually pay the price at the ballot box. We’re going to make sure that happens in 2014,” he said.
The Club for Growth also announced its opposition to Plan B, flagging it as a “key vote” that would be included on the group’s scorecard of members, and urging Republicans to vote against it.
“On the substance, this bill is anti-growth,” wrote Club for Growth vice president of government affairs Andy Roth in a letter sent to representatives’ offices. “It increases tax rates for those making over $1 million while also raising taxes on capital gains and dividends. We don’t buy into the Washington-speak, suggesting that these are actually tax cuts.”
“Also, it’s no secret that this bill is not a final product, but a bargaining tactic to make a larger deal even worse. As such, we cannot support it just on substance, but also the procedure which dictates its consideration,” he added. “Therefore, we are urging all members to oppose the rule.”
Heritage Action, the lobbying and activist arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation, also urged House members to oppose Plan B, dubbing it the “Schumer-Pelosi plan” — both Sen. Charles Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi supported similar plans in the past — and saying that it is “not a solution; it is a political ploy.”
One group is notably not protesting the bill on the grounds that it raises taxes: Americans for Tax Reform, led by Grover Norquist, issued a statement Wednesday that voting for the bill would not violate members’ tax pledge.
“Republicans supporting this bill are this week affirming to their constituents in writing that this bill — the sole purpose of which is to prevent tax increases — is consistent with the pledge they made to them. In ATR’s analysis, it is extremely difficult — if not impossible — to fault these Republicans’ assertion,” reads the statement posted on ATR’s website Wednesday morning.
“In particular, in this Congress the House has already voted twice to prevent any tax increases on any American,” the statement continues. “When viewed with this in mind, and considering this tax bill contains no tax increases of any kind — in fact, it permanently prevents them — matters become more clear. Having finally seen actual legislation in writing, ATR is now able to make its determination about a legislative proposal related to the fiscal cliff. ATR will not consider a vote for this measure a violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.”