Conservative Groups Lining Up Against McConnell-Biden Fiscal Cliff Plan

Kevin Glass

1/1/2013 3:57:00 PM - Kevin Glass
Just two hours into 2013, the Senate held an emergency roll call vote on a fiscal cliff plan concocted by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden. The legislation passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 89-8, but key fiscal conservatives stalwarts like Sens. Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and Marco Rubio lined up in opposition.

As the legislation moves to the House, conservative groups have begun to take stands, with key players urging legislators to vote no. FreedomWorks, Club for Growth and Heritage Action - the Heritage Foundation's sister advocacy organization - have all issued "key vote" scores for the Senate-passed Fiscal Cliff legislation.

"Key votes" issued by these organizations can be potentially very meaningful, especially as Speaker John Boehner attempts to whip up GOP support. "This kick-the-can approach, necessitated by a president who refuses to stop campaigning and start seriously addressing our nation’s fiscal problems, is not an adequate solution to America’s coming fiscal crisis," reads Heritage Action's opposition statement.

Club for Growth takes issue with the tax-increase-now, spending-cuts-later approach:

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.

President and CEO of FreedomWorks Matt Kibbe writes "we will never again support a back room deal that the American people have not been given ample chance to examine. Both parties promise transparency but act in secret when no one is paying attention.

Other conservative groups have so far been silent or , but Heritage Action, FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth are all heavy hitters - and they're bringing their weight to bear down on members of Congress to torpedo the McConnell-Biden fiscal cliff deal.

Update: Americans for Prosperity has joined in the cavalcade of conservative organizations lining up against the cliff deal. James Valvo, director of policy for AFP, e-mails, "Although this legislation contains many laudable elements, its flaws outweigh its benefits. Primarily, this bill does not stop the looming tax hikes. Despite what some may claim, taxes will be higher than last year under this bill."

Update 2: The American Conservative Union has announced their opposition as well. ACU Chairman Al Cardenas writes: "The American Conservative Union simply cannot accept or support the Senate Bill as passed this morning, which does nothing to reign in out of control spending... they should then go back to the drawing board."