Once again the Tea Party seems to be kneecapping John Boehner.
The House Speaker is facing backlash from several lawmakers within his own party after he proposed his own deficit cutting plan to counter President Obama’s.
South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint–co-founder of the Senate’s anti-tax Tea Party caucus–claimed Tuesday that Boehner’s plan would “destroy” American jobs and encouraged GOPers to oppose it. Boehner’s $2.2 trillion plan seeks $800 billion in new revenue. Democrats immediately rejected the proposal, which promises to lower tax rates for the wealthy.
DeMint is against the plan because he says it will “allow politicians in Washington to spend even more” while not reducing the nation’s debt “by a single penny.”
At issue are a series of spending cuts and tax hikes that will go into effect next year unless Congress can hammer out a deal. President Obama says the richest 2% of Americans need to pay more in taxes, while Boehner says any such increase would be “unacceptable.”
Meanwhile, two first-term Tea Party favorites, Tim Huelskamp of Kansas and Justin Amash of Michigan, were removed by the GOP from the budget committee in what Huelskamp is calling a “vindictive” move.
Other conservative grassroots groups are railing against Boehner’s plan, including Americans for Prosperity and the Heritage Foundation.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid lambasted the Tea Party’s “firm grip” on the Republican party. The Democrat argued that while Boehner’s proposal is “not nearly enough to restore fiscal responsibility,” it’s “enough to make the Tea Party scream bloody murder.”
Speaking on the fiscal cliff in general, former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele told Hardball’s Chris Matthews on Tuesday that the deal should include extending the middle class tax cuts immediately.
“Set that aside because everyone agrees we’re not going to go after those. Then it gives you some time and some room to negotiate” on the other higher income tax rates, said Steele.
He insisted a deal could be reached and “this is not rocket science.” Republicans simply “want to see that they’re actually going to get something in the bargain that’s going to be real and genuine, not the promise for cuts in entitlement spending four or five Congresses from now,” Steele added.