A fissure in the Republican Party continues to grow over the controversial rescue packages supported by the Bush administration, with two dozen party officials warning that the country is moving steadily toward "socialism."
Republican National Committee Vice Chairman James Bopp Jr. submitted a resolution to the party Tuesday. If approved, it would put the party on record as opposing the bailouts of the financial and automotive industries.
The resolution, signed by at least 24 of the 168 party members, argues that the financial bailout effectively nationalized the banking system.
The statement says the rescue packages are "moving our free-market based economy another dangerous step closer toward socialism."
"What was needed, and is still needed, to fix the banking industry is not a bailout, but rather a commitment to fiscal responsibility," the resolution says. "Members of the Republican National Committee call for all members of Congress to oppose any and all future bailouts that might come before the Congress, including President-elect Obama's public works program."
But other Republicans say the proposed resolution won't do much more than highlight the party's fractured state and take a cheap shot at the president.
"Attacking President Bush in the final days of his administration seems pointless to me," Republican strategist Karen Hanretty said. "It really doesn't serve to do anything other than make a handful of insiders perhaps feel better."
She said the party members should have voiced their concerns earlier.
The resolution's author, though, says it helps the Republican Party return to its principles and move forward, after a damaging election in November.
"We are now the minority party in Congress. We are the minority party in the presidency," Bopp said. "The force that can step up and to fight these public policy battles is the Republican National Committee. And this resolution will authorize the committee to engage in those fights."
The resolution's supporters don't call out by name the key Republicans who supported the measures -- the president, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader John Boehner. But they criticize the policies they supported.
"We're not trying to criticize any one, any one person. What we are talking about is conservative solutions to these economic problems and recognizing that some Republicans have supported policies that will not lead to economic recovery, that are not conservative," Bopp said.
The White House insists Bush does not personally like the idea of government intervening in private business but that he backed the rescues out of necessity.
"This was the necessary and responsible thing to do to prevent a collapse of the American economy," White House spokesman Tony Fratto said in a written statement.
But Bopp argues that Congress should have cut capital gains taxes and corporate taxes, which he said would stimulate economic activity across the country.
Bopp and the other supporters of the resolution plan to push it to a floor vote at the Republican National Committee meeting in late January.