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Big losers in 'fiscal cliff' talks? Tea party, perhaps.

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In the summer of 2011, House Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio reportedly offered a similar amount of revenue in debt-reduction negotiations with President Obama. But House majority leader Eric Cantor (R) of Virginia and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R) of Wisconsin called such use of tax revenues everything short of political apostasy. This year, however, they put their signatures on the offer to the president on Monday.

Representative Cantor noted the change the election wrought even before the House GOP made its offer.
“The speaker put new revenues on the table just after the election and said: 'We get it. The president won his reelection; we won our reelection. We have to now come together,' ” he told reporters on Friday. Offering more tax revenue “is our proposal to the president that we were unwilling to give a year and a half ago during the debt-ceiling talks."

The groups that powered the conservative surge in 2010 treated the plan with icy disdain.

“The president's proposal and Speaker Boehner's counteroffer fail to seriously deal with the reality of the problems facing the nation,” said Tim Phillips, the president of Americans for Prosperity, an arch-conservative advocacy group backed by a pair of conservative billionaires. “Conservatives are looking for a leader to fight against tax increases, to push back against wasteful government spending, and address the fiscal challenges in a bold way. Sadly, this plan leaves conservatives wanting."

An e-mail sent to supporters of Heritage Action, the political advocacy arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation, added: “Republicans retained control of the U.S. House of Representatives to serve as a check to President Obama's big-government agenda, not to find creative ways to fund it.”

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