Let’s call a spade a spade. Let’s call the Tea Party the Koch Party. The Koch Party is the tail that is wagging the GOP’s lead dog, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).
The billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch bankrolled Tea Party groups from their beginning in addition to funding FreedomWorks, Americans for Prosperity, and Citizens for a Sound Economy. The Kochs have been referred to as “the financial engine of the Tea Party.” Their agenda opposes the extension of unemployment benefits, opposes a federal deficit, and calls for a freeze on federal regulations regarding oil, mining, and financial concerns.
As the New Yorker reported, “In Washington, [David] Koch is best known as part of a family that has repeatedly funded stealth attacks on the federal government and on the Obama Administration in particular.”
Just before Christmas Boehner’s song was that the Keystone XL pipeline was the keystone of the payroll tax cut bill. “We will make changes,” Speaker Boehner said. “I will guarantee you the Keystone pipeline will be in the bill when it goes back to the Senate.” Increasing Canadian oil imports benefits Koch Industries, which is responsible for close to a quarter of the oil sands crude that is imported into the United States. Pipeline approval would be a financial windfall for Koch, with its deep involvement in the Canadian petroleum industry.
The Senate gave the Speaker the song he wanted to sing, a payroll tax extension with the Pipeline project rider. It then adjourned and left Washington. But the Koch Party House members rebelled and the Speakers’ tune changed to another piece of brinkmanship, for which the 112th Congress has become renowned. At stake this time were 2 million Americans losing their long-term unemployment benefits and 160 million workers seeing their taxes rise by 2-percentage points.
Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) slammed the GOP. “The public has to be concerned and wondering why on Earth are we not getting a payroll tax cut when everybody says they're for it?" The answer to her question is the Koch Party, led by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), who opposed the Senate bill and urged his caucus to reject it.
Job creation is just lip service that Speaker Boehner gave to the Keystone XL pipeline project. Blocking the middle class tax cut could cost between 400,000 and 1 million American jobs. However, jobs are not on the Koch Party agenda. Koch Industries is big business concerned about regulations and corporate tax loop-holes. Its Tea Party surrogates do not understand who creates jobs or how a tax increase would impact consumer spending.