President Obama has a new favorite Republican on Capitol Hill and his name is Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla. While the rest of the House Republicans are standing firm against Obama’s relentless drive to hike taxes, Rooney signaled Tuesday that he is ready to surrender, telling Politico he “would rather have tax increases than cut our defense.”
Yesterday, outgoing-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stepped up the pressure on conservatives by threatening to cut active duty military pay if Republicans refused to hike taxes. Why any conservative would ever even consider giving in to such blatant hostage tactics is a complete mystery.
Fortunately, Rooney seems to be the only Republican willing to cave. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., who was one of the few Republicans who said Obama should be allowed to end the Bush tax cuts, has firmly rejected any new tax hikes this time around. “Anything that involves higher taxes is dead on arrival,” he told reporters Tuesday. “This needs to be taken care of with spending cuts. If it’s not, it can just be the sequester as written.”