Dec 23, 2011 6 Comments ›› Pat Dollard
Tea Party freshman Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) said Thursday that the agreement to extend the payroll tax was “a sad day for America” and an example of when “the politics of demagoguery trump policy and also principle” in a post to his Facebook wall.
“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 become a dying breed in this Republic.”
West went on to criticize a conference call held by House Republican leadership Friday in which the deal, in which Republican agreed to pass the two-month extension of the tax cuts in exchange for a promise to appoint conferees to strike a year-long deal by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
“The conference lasted less than 15 minutes and we were not allowed to ask questions,” West wrote. “We were told that by unanimous consent the House will pass the Senate Amendment with a correction to the new payroll reporting procedures. Harry Reid agreed to appoint conferees but we were not told any timeline for this move.”
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. You cannot do tax policy every two months. And I think all across the world, people are laughing at us right now,” West said.
He also said that 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 this games that they play in Washington, D.C,” West said.
“This is not a 24-hour wound,” he added. “We’ve had some e-mail 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 extension passed the House Friday morning by unanimous consent.