WASHINGTON -- Three influential conservative groups that helped to defeat Speaker John Boehner's "Plan B" before Christmas called for a "no" vote on the fiscal cliff deal struck by the White House and the Senate. The calls of opposition from these groups appear to have been heard by House Republicans, who are refusing to support the deal passed by the Senate.
The ultra-conservative Club for Growth stated, "This bill raises taxes immediately with the promise of cutting spending later. Tax rates will go up on marginal income, capital gains, dividends, and even certain estates when a person passes away. But it also delays the sequester for at least two months, breaking the promise made by Congress in 2011 to cut government spending. And, among other things, it includes an unpaid for extension of unemployment benefits."
Heritage Action, the political arm of the Heritage Foundation, echoed these concerns, "To be clear, this is a tax increase. ... Heritage Action opposes the kick-the-can tax increase and will include it as a key vote on our legislative scorecard."
FreedomWorks President and CEO Matt Kibbe opposed Senate passage of the deal and wrote to his group's members to call their senator to express their opposition. "I urge you to call your state’s two U.S. Senators and ask them to vote NO on the McConnell-Obama bill to raise taxes and postpone the promised sequester savings. We will count any vote on this proposal as a KEY VOTE when calculating the FreedomWorks Economic Freedom Scorecard for 2012."
A fourth group, the Koch brothers-controlled Americans for Prosperity, stopped short of calling for supporters to oppose the deal, but did blast both the deal's contents and the way it was being passed.
"The package is being rushed through at the last minute, possibly voiding the Speaker’s promise that the country would be able to review legislation for three days before the House voted on it. Much like the President’s health care law, it looks like we’ll have to pass the tax bill to find out what’s in it," Americans for Prosperity policy director James Valvo wrote on AFP's blog.
Both the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks are known for getting involved in Republican primary elections to oppose lawmakers that they deem insufficiently conservative. In the past three elections, the Club for Growth defeated four incumbent lawmakers in primaries including Sens. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and Bob Bennett (R-Utah) and Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-Md.). The group's primary opposition to the late Arlen Specter led him to switch parties in 2009 to run for reelection as a Democrat.
Despite the opposition to the deal by the Club for Growth, their former president, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who chased Specter out of the Republican Party, voted for the deal in the Senate.