Monday, November 26, 2012

Top Foolish Republicans and Signal Willingness to Break Tax Pledge

More GOP fools!

As Congress prepared to dive back into "fiscal cliff" talks on Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday, there were growing signs that the long-standing Republican resistance to raising taxes is beginning to crack.

On Sunday, three leading Republicans — Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain, and Rep. Peter King — said they no longer viewed the anti-tax pledge designed by activist Grover Norquist to be binding on them. Their statements followed a similar one Thursday by Georgia Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

The decades-old pledge from the Americans for Tax Reform group has been signed by 238 House members and 41 senators in this Congress and has essentially become inescapable for any Republican seeking statewide or national office over recent election cycles, especially in the Republican-controlled lower chamber.

But on Sunday, there were signals of a sudden shift:
  • “I agree entirely with Saxby Chambliss,” King said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “A pledge you signed 20 years ago, 18 years ago, is for that Congress. … The world has changed, and the economic situation is different.”
  • “I will violate the pledge, long story short, for the good of the country, only if Democrats will do entitlement reform,” Graham said on ABC’s “This Week.”
  • McCain, meanwhile, said he wants to focus on closing so-called tax “loopholes” to raise revenue but stressed he wants no increases to the marginal tax rates. Many observers, however, note that closing loopholes will still represent an effective tax increase. "We can close a lot of loopholes," McCain said on “Fox News Sunday,” identifying deductions on charitable donations and on mortgage interest.
For his part, Norquist on Friday said that breaking the pledge is breaking a promise to constituents who elected their representatives in part on their commitment against tax increases.

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