Looks like Rep. Tom Cole is still out there taking the hit for Speaker John Boehner and giving him some cover from the "tea party" wingnuts in the House that think compromise of any sort is akin to treason: Key Republican Says Middle Class Tax Cuts Would Pass The House:
Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) said Sunday that middle income tax cuts would pass the House if brought up.
Asked on CNN’s “State of the Union” if he sees growing Republican support for the bill that GOP leaders oppose, he said, “Yeah, honestly I think if it got to the floor, it would carry.”
“I think it would,” said Cole, a deputy majority whip. “Look, that’s my judgment, but I spend a lot of time counting votes and looking around. But this doesn’t say we’re going to raise taxes on anybody, it says OK this group for sure, your taxes aren’t going up. Get that done with, get it over with.”
The remarks seem to undermine Speaker John Boehner’s hand in fiscal cliff negotiations with President Obama. The Speaker’s call for Obama to make concessions in the talks is built on the premise that the president’s plan for avoiding the cliff cannot pass both chambers of Congress.
I don't think he's doing any of this without Boehner's full approval. They want those social safety nets slashed and are backed into a corner on the tax increases and in a bad negotiating position right now. And as Think Progress noted:
Despite their rhetorical support, however, Republican members have yet to sign the discharge petition filed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) that would force the House to vote on the middle-income tax cut extension.
So talk is cheap. They're going to give an inch when they're forced to or when they start hearing from enough of their donors and/or constituents that have finally had a belly full of them.
Transcript below the fold.