A group of more than 140 prominent conservatives signed an open letter to House and Senate Republicans on Wednesday urging them not to “deal” with Democrats in “fiscal cliff" negotiations, and warning them of the consequences if they do.
“If Republicans cave in now, when it really counts, next time you will be weaker, because your conservative base will be outraged,” the letter reads in part. “Many who worked hard to elect you in the past will never lift a finger for you again.”
There are two outcomes that the signers warned GOP lawmakers against. The first is a scenario in which “just enough Republicans” cross the aisle to “pass what Obama, Pelosi and Reid want passed,” and the second is one in which Republican leadership would “negotiate a ‘deal’ with Democrats and take most Republican Representatives and Senators with them.”
The letter doesn’t outline what scenario would be acceptable in reaching a deal to avert the “fiscal cliff," but it sends a clear warning if either of the above outcomes were to materialize.
“If such deals are made, conservative organizations and conservative and liberty-loving voters would see that the current leadership is not an acceptable alternative to the left,” the letter says. “Let us also remind you that a great many potent conservative organizations and millions of conservative and liberty-loving voters do not believe in the divine right of incumbents to be re-nominated. Conservatives know how to recruit and support candidates.”
“Suppose just enough Republicans cross the aisle to provide Democrats a majority in vitally important legislative battles now upon us,” it continues. “They will find themselves, come election time, the targets of both liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans, which isn't likely to be healthy for their political careers. Suppose, on the other hand, that the congressional Republican leadership negotiates a "deal," a "compromise," with Obama, Pelosi, and Reid. The historic record of such deals shows that the Democrats usually clean the Republicans' clocks.”
The conservative leaders argue that, despite Democratic control of the White House and Senate, as well as polling that shows Democrats in a position of strength, that it’s Republicans who have the mandate to control the “fiscal cliff” negotiations.
“In the House, the nation elected in 2012 one of the largest Republican majorities in the past 100 years,” the letter says. “You have a mandate to fight for conservative principles that is arguably much broader than the one that narrowly reelected President Barack ObamaBarack Obama21 state AGs denounce DeVos for ending student loan reform Obama to net 0K for Wall Street speech: report Trump’s wall jams GOP in shutdown talks MORE claims to have for his leftist agenda. Of course, House Republicans alone cannot pass a law, but united you can stop any bill which violates the principles you publicly committed to support. In the Senate, you have more than enough Republicans to prevent the passage of anything truly harmful to our country. Nevertheless, you are already being pressured to abandon the principles voters elected you to uphold."
The letter spotlights the tough spot Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerLobbyists bounce back under Trump Business groups silent on Trump's Ex-Im nominee Chaffetz won't run for reelection MORE (R-Ohio) is in.
While BoehnerJohn BoehnerLobbyists bounce back under Trump Business groups silent on Trump's Ex-Im nominee Chaffetz won't run for reelection MORE has been backed by GOP leadership in the negotiations — House Budget Committee Chairman Paul RyanPaul RyanDisconnect: Trump, GOP not on same page Overnight Tech: Dem wants to see FCC chief's net neutrality plans | New agency panel on telecom diversity | Trump calls NASA astronaut Poll: Disapproval growing of Paul Ryan, GOP Congress MORE (R-Wis.) and House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric CantorBrat: New ObamaCare repeal bill has 'significant' changes Overnight Energy: Flint lawmaker pushes EPA for new lead rule House staffer, Monsanto vet named to top Interior posts MORE (R-Va.) both signed his first proposal to the White House — Boehner continues to struggle with some Tea Party conservatives who are urging him not to budge on raising tax rates.
Boehner has also been criticized recently by some in his party for his decision to strip four members — Reps. Justin AmashJustin AmashGreens take climate fight to GOP town halls US pressure on Saudis can help promote peace in Yemen Who will replace Chaffetz on Oversight? MORE (R-Mich.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), David SchweikertDavid SchweikertGOP amendment would give billion to insurers to cover high-cost patients Meadows: Freedom Caucus would back bill that got rid of 3 ObamaCare regs Trump pressing House GOP for tweaks in healthcare bill: report MORE (R-Ariz.) and Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) — of high-profile committee assignments.
The move triggered opposition from outside conservative groups that have undertaken efforts to replace Boehner as Speaker. But those calls have not received support from within the caucus.
While Amash has said he might not back Boehner to retain the gavel, Reps. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnTrump transition members urge Rice to testify Tech faces public anger over internet privacy repeal Overnight Tech: GOP faces backlash over internet privacy repeal | AT&T lands .5B contract for first responder network | Tech knocks Trump climate order MORE (R-Tenn.) on Sunday confidently predicted he would remain Speaker.