Cracks in GOP promise of no new taxes for deficit cuts?
To help the deficit 'super committee' reach a deal, some Republicans appear to be open to the idea of ending some tax breaks, despite opposition from antitax crusaders.
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“I don’t want to get to that point,” he said, in comments off the House floor.Skip to next paragraph
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Rep. Jeff Flake (R) of Arizona, who has signed the pledge, has suggested there is some wiggle room. “Some [conservatives] won’t even let you get rid of a tax deduction or tax expenditure, unless it matches up with a tax cut. I’m not one of those.”
“If you can get rid of something as bad as the ethanol subsidy, I don’t think we should feel compelled to find a corresponding tax cut,” he added.
ATR President Grover Norquist calls adherence to the pledge a principled stance and a commitment to voters, not to ATR or to himself. He predicts it will not break down in the heat of negotiations to reach a deal.
“All of the guys on that committee have taken the pledge and understand it,” he says. “Everything I’m hearing is that we’re fine.”
An anti-Norquist pledge petition, signed by more than 11,000 online responders, calls on "Gridlock Grover" to affirm that the constitutional oath of public officials should trump ATR's no-tax pledge. "Over the past several months, politicians across the political spectrum have argued that your demand for ideological purity and your strong-arm enforcement tactics are paralyzing Congress and preventing Congress from solving the problems of the American people," reads the petition sponsored by the Constitutional Accountability Center in Washington.
On Tuesday, Sen. Max Baucus (D) of Montana, chair of the Senate Finance Committee and a member of the deficit panel, proposed more than $1 trillion in tax increases in a $3 trillion deficit-reduction plan. GOP leaders on and off the panel quickly dismissed it.
“Democrats come up with phony proposals like the $3 trillion [plan] to mask tax increases,” says Mr. Norquist. “Democrats want to raise taxes and they don’t want to cut spending. Republicans don’t want to raise taxes, but they want to cut spending. That’s exactly what we want the narrative to be between now and the next election cycle.”
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