Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) shredded House Speaker John Boehner’s negotiation tactics over the fiscal cliff in an appearance on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program Tuesday night. It’s the latest in an intra-party onslaught against Boehner by both establishment Republicans and conservatives who don’t appreciate the speaker’s continued caving to Obama on fiscal cliff dealings.
“When Jay Carney says he [Obama] has moved halfway on this thing, what you got to go back and see is the president demanded $800 billion in tax increases,” Gohmert said. “John Boehner starts out and says ‘okay we’ll do that.’ And, what do they [the White House] do? They move to $1.6 trillion in tax increases. It’s pretty clear the president doesn’t want a deal.”
Earlier in the segment, Gohmert expressed worry that Boehner will slip into the same trap former Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush found themselves in after increasing taxes. While both allowed taxes to increase under Democratic congressional pressure at the time, they did so with the promise of future spending cuts. Obviously, those spending cuts never came.
“We know that our problem is too much spending,” Gohmert told Hannity. “We know that President Reagan fell into the trap. And President George H.W. Bush fell into the trap. [Democrats say] ‘just raise taxes on somebody and we’ll come along with cuts later.’ We cut ourselves, our own House budget, over 11 percent over two years. That gives us the moral authority to say to every agency in the federal government: ‘You’re cutting your budget 11 percent.’ Not only that: In 2009, it was the Pelosi-Reid-Obama budget. They spent $1.5 or $1.6 trillion more than we brought in and we brought in $2 or $3 trillion. Why can’t we go back to their budget in 2008 and say, ‘you know what, this was Pelosi’s and Reid’s budget. It spent around $2.5 trillion. That cuts over a trillion off of where the president stands.'”
Kansas Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), who with Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) joined Gohmert on the Hannity segment, said he’s “afraid this is exactly the trap I think the president would like us to walk into: to get Republicans to support a tax increase.”
“Over the weekend, we know the Speaker offered a $1 trillion increase in revenues – I call that a tax increase – and put that on the table,” Huelskamp said. Obama rejected the offer, a move that prompted Huelskamp to quip: “If I was the president, I wouldn’t have accepted that either. I’d say ‘I want some more.'”
“Now he [Boehner] wants the House to step into something which, by the way, on May 23, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said ‘raise taxes on millionaires and we’d be satisfied with that,'” Huelskamp added. “The real issue is spending. Republicans should be for something. We should put something on the floor which is a serious attempt to address the problem of spending and put that in Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)’s lap and say to the president: ‘Where are your spending cuts?'”
Chaffetz said he wasn’t pleased with Boehner’s original “plan B” option but finds an apparently revised version presented to the GOP conference later on Tuesday to be acceptable. It’s unclear what’s in the revised version.
“Given what’s on the books right now, doing nothing, what is actually law, is going to be one of the single largest tax hikes we’ve ever had,” Chaffetz said. “So, what we’re going to do if we do go with this – I’d call it the ‘modified plan B’ – it would actually be one of the largest tax reductions. We’re going to protect about 99 percent of the people in this country from this massive tax hike.”
Chaffetz said he’d support such a “modified plan B.”
But when Hannity asked Gohmert if he would support what Chaffetz said he would about raising taxes on only one percent of Americans, Gohmert simply replied: “It doesn’t look good to me.”
Huelskamp said that he “will not support this proposal” from Boehner to raise taxes, adding that he wants Americans to understand the speaker and the president are still having secret negotiations too. “Let’s be clear: ‘Plan A’ is still under way,” Huelskamp said. “There are still negotiations going on at the White House.”