The Florida lawmaker said deal is an example of when “the politics of demagoguery trump policy and also principle.”
Tea Party freshman Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) said Thursday in a post to his Facebook wall that the agreement to extend the payroll-tax cut was “a sad day for America” and an example of when “the politics of demagoguery trump policy and also principle.”
“I cannot support this, but it seems the politics of demagoguery have won over policy and principle with the concession to enact tax policy on two-month basis,” West wrote. “This is a sad day for America and further evidences our continuing decline. Men and women of principle are becoming a dying breed in this Republic.”
West went on to criticize a conference call held by House GOP leadership, in which Republicans agreed to pass the two-month extension of the tax cut in exchange for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) promise to appoint conferees to strike a year-long extension.
In an interview later Thursday on Fox News, West warned that the American people “were duped by the president of the United States.”
“The American people lose out because this is bad policy,” he said. “You cannot do tax policy every two months. And I think all across the world, people are laughing at us right now.”
He said other Tea Party freshmen were similarly upset with the establishment congressional leadership.
“It’s about time that we take a chance with some of the young leaders that we have sent to Washington, D.C., and move away from this establishment rhetoric and [these] games that they play in Washington, D.C,” West said.
“This is not a 24-hour wound,” he added. “We’ve had some email discussions back and forth within the freshman class, and we’re pretty let down, upset. But that does not mean we will continue to fight against the business-as-usual Beltway two-step, because as you just said, this is going to be a kabuki dance that continues on. And we will never get to the point where we rectify the fiscal situation of the United States of America if we keep having these sound-bite policies.”
But West stopped short of saying there would be a challenge to House leadership, saying instead that the “number one concern” was defeating President Obama in the coming elections.
The payroll-tax-cut extension passed the House on Friday morning by unanimous consent.
— Updated at 11:11 a.m.