More and more Republicans are speaking out against the Grover Norquist pledge to block tax increases, with prominent Senator Lindsey Graham admitting that he will violate the agreement that he himself signed.
On Sunday, several congressional Republicans said that they would be open to tax increases, with Graham going so far as to say that he is willing to break his earlier promise to block tax hikes of any kind.
Graham, the Republican Senator for South Carolina, said that while he still opposes raising income taxes, he is open to tax revenue increases by reducing the availability of deductions for things like charitable giving and mortgage interest.
“When you’re $16 trillion in debt, the only pledge we should be making to each other is to avoid becoming Greece, and Republicans — Republicans should put revenue on the table,” Graham said on ABC‘s This Week with George Stephanopoulos. “We’re this far in debt. We don’t generate enough revenue. Capping deductions will help generate revenue. Raising tax rates will hurt job creation.”
Graham’s relaxed stance on tax increases violates Grover Norquist’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” which he and most congressional Republicans have signed.
“So I agree with Grover, we shouldn’t raise rates. But, I think Grover is wrong when it comes to [saying] we can’t cap deductions and buy down debt,” Graham continued. “I want to buy down debt and cut rates to create jobs, but I will violate the pledge, long story short, for the good of the country, only if Democrats will do entitlement reform.”
Echoing these sentiments, Republican Rep. Peter King said on NBC‘s Meet The Press that everything, including new revenues, should be on the table in order to avert the upcoming fiscal cliff. Recalling Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss’s comments last week, King called the Norquist pledge outdated and non-applicable in today’s economy.
“A pledge you signed 20 years ago, 18 years ago, is for that Congress,” King said. “For instance, if I were in Congress in 1941, I would have signed the declaration of war against Japan. I’m not going to attack Japan today. The world has changed. The economic situation is different. Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill realized that in the 1980s. I think everything should be on the table. I am opposed to tax increases. The speaker and the majority leader and the president will be in a room trying to find the best package. I’m not going to prejudge it. And we should not be taking ironclad positions.”
Do you think that congressional Republicans are breaking a promise to the American people or should everything be on the table to avoid the fiscal cliff?