Two Big Conservative Groups Come Out Against Boehner’s ‘Plan B’

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Shortly after Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform gave Republicans the go-ahead to vote for House Speaker John Boehner’s “Plan B,” two top conservative groups urged GOP representatives to vote “no” on the measure.While ATR gave Boehner some cover, Heritage Action and Club for Growth came out against Boehner’s new plan, which would see taxes revert to higher rates on incomes above $1 million per year or more while permanently preserving the cuts for anything less. It’s a plan that once was rather unthinkable to Republicans because of its tax increases, and one that conservative groups signaled they will continue to oppose.

Heritage accused Boehner of embracing “the other side’s political gimmick, as is the case with the Schumer-Pelosi tax plan.” The Club for Growth, meanwhile, said it wouldn’t “buy into Washington-speak, suggesting that these are actually tax cuts.” Some conservatives believe Norquist’s group is looking for political cover from its all-or-nothing pledge.

All of the groups’ sentiments are significant as Boehner looks to secure the votes needed to pass “Plan B.” There are 241 Republicans currently in the House. If no Democrats vote for the plan, Boehner can only afford to lose a maximum of 23 members of his own party. 

Because the Club for Growth is especially effective at mounting primary challenges, it will force Republicans to think hard about backing Boehner’s plan. And while Boehner and others are pushing the message that their plan is actually a tax cut, both Heritage and the Club for Growth explicitly denounce that.

Here’s the Club for Growth’s full statement:

The Club for Growth urges all House members to vote “NO” on the rule for the so-called “Plan B” tax increase. Consideration of the bill is scheduled for later this week. The vote on the rule will be included in the Club’s 2012 Congressional Scorecard.

On the substance, this bill is anti-growth. 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. Therefore, we are urging all members to oppose the rule.

Our Congressional Scorecard for the 112th Congress provides a comprehensive rating of how well or how poorly each member of Congress supports pro-growth, free-market policies and will be distributed to our members and to the public.

And Heritage:

On Thursday, the House is expected to vote on “Plan B,” which would allow tax rates to increase on some Americans and small businesses.  The plan is based on an idea floated by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in 2010 and endorsed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) earlier this year.

America’s coming fiscal crisis is a result of overspending, not under-taxing.  Allowing a tax increase to hit a certain segment of Americans and small businesses is not a solution; it is a political ploy.

The Heritage Foundation explains that such a “manoeuvre succeeds only if the House Republican leadership permits it.”  Moreover, decoupling the 2001- and 2003-era tax rates would “constitute a clear path toward surrender on conservative principles.”  Taking money out of the private sector to fund the public sector is not only misguided, it is counterproductive.  Reversing course on the need for higher taxes will only serve to embolden the left’s big-government agenda.  History has shown tax increases do little to stem annual deficits; in fact, deficits tend to increase.

To date, President Obama has proven to be fundamentally unserious about tackling our nation’s coming fiscal crisis.  America needs real leaders proposing real solutions, such as those found in Heritage’s Saving the American Dream plan or even the previous House-passed budget.  That seriousness of purpose is undermined when a political party embraces the other side’s political gimmick, as is the case with the Schumer-Pelosi tax plan.

Heritage Action opposes “Plan B” and will include it as a key vote on our legislative scorecard.