Tea Party ramps up efforts against tax deal

Conservatives aligned with the Tea Party ramped up pressure Monday on Republicans to vote down the tax deal before Congress.

A Tea Party umbrella group circulated a petition in opposition to President Obama's tax deal with Republicans, while another high-profile GOP lawmaker aligned with the grassroots movement said he's inclined to vote against it.

"The idea that this massive tax and spend bill has not yet even been written but may be voted on by the Senate this weekend is appalling, and has rightfully drawn the anger of the TeaPartyPatriots.org and other Tea Party activists, an anger that will not diminish," said a petition crafted by the Tea Party Patriots.

The pressure comes before a vote in the Senate expected Monday afternoon on the fate of the tax deal the president struck with Republicans.

GOP lawmakers have been largely supportive of the deal, which extends all expiring income taxes for two years in exchange for an extension in unemployment benefits and middle-class tax credits, as well.

But some conservatives have balked. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) has announced his opposition to the deal, as have some other Tea Party-aligned Republicans.

"Today, as I understand this, I'm likely to be a no," argued Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), another Tea Party favorite, on Monday on Fox News.

Republican staffers in Congress have sought to promote conservatives' endorsements for the deal to help give their members cover on the vote. FreedomWorks, another Tea Party umbrella group, endorsed the deal last week.

GOP staff is hoping to quell the idea of a rift — real or perceived — in the party's congressional representation, especially after a sometimes-tense primary season where Tea Partiers went after establishment GOP candidates and incumbents.