Debt ceiling deal: Boehner's no-new-taxes pledge calms jittery conservatives
Conservative groups had been worried that House Speaker John Boehner would agree to some tax increases in a deal to trim deficits and raise the debt ceiling.
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President Obama renewed calls for Republicans to compromise on the tax issue at his own press conference on Monday. Tax increases would not increase until 2013, he said. These include getting rid of “egregious loopholes” or ending the Bush-era tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires who “can afford to pay a little bit more.”Skip to next paragraph
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“What I've also said to Republicans is, if you don't like that formulation, then I'm happy to work with you on tax reform that could potentially lower everybody's rates and broaden the base, as long as that package was sufficiently progressive so that we weren’t balancing the budget on the backs of middle-class families and working-class families, and we weren’t letting hedge-fund managers or authors of best-selling books off the hook,” he added.
But if Monday’s conspicuous display of unity by House Republicans is any indication, the president’s options on increasing taxes aren’t likely to be snapped up soon – despite a ticking default clock that gives negotiators only until Aug. 2 to work out a deal.
“Republicans haven’t voted for a tax increase since 1990,” says Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “Democrats who think Republicans can be talked into passing tax increases so that Democrats can spend more money have very, very long memories.”
Meanwhile, Democrats emerged from Monday’s debt talks at the White House reaffirming their commitment to protecting Social Security and Medicare from cuts in any “grand bargain” on debt. “These pillars of economic and health security should not be used as a piggybank to subsidize tax cuts for the wealthy,” said House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D) of California, in a statement released after talks on Monday.