With time running out, it is imperative that Congress take action before the fiscal cliff hits to prevent tax increases on middle class families and turn off the damaging and arbitrary spending cuts of the sequester. Going off the cliff isn’t an option. It will take a balanced solution, and for the first time it looks like some Republicans are starting to agree.
Throughout the last week, several Republican leaders have distanced themselves from the flawed Grover Norquist tax pledge that prohibits leaders from asking the wealthiest to pay their fair share. As more Republicans decide to put the interests of the American people before party, the closer we get to achieving what Americans want us to do – get our nation on a fiscally sustainable path so that we can grow and strengthen our economy.
Some highlights of Republicans disavowing the Grover pledge:
Rep. Jon Runyan: “[The pledge] will not be a part of my decision-making process. I firmly believe that this discussion should allow for all ideas to be on the table and open for discussion, including spending cuts, entitlement reform, and increasing revenue.” [Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/28]
Rep. Pat Meehan: “The most important pledge is the one I make to my constituents when I'm sworn in. I'm going to do the very best I can to avoid the fiscal cliff and keep our economy strong.” [Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/28]
Sen. David Vitter: “[I’m open] to a reasonable compromise that significantly lowers deficit and debt, particularly new revenue from upper income folks through fundamental tax reform combined with real and significant spending reform.” [New Orleans Times-Picayune, 11/27]
Sen. Bob Corker: “I’m not obligated on the pledge… I made Tennesseans aware, I was just elected, the only thing I’m honoring is the oath I take when I serve when I’m sworn in this January.” [CBS, 11/26]
Sen. Saxby Chambliss: “I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge… If we do it his way then we'll continue in debt, and I just have a disagreement with him about that.” [WMAZ, 11/23]
Sen. Lindsey Graham: “I will violate the pledge, long story short, for the good of the country, only if Democrats will do entitlement reform.” [ABC’s This Week, 11/23]
Rep. Peter King: “A pledge you signed 20 years ago, 18 years ago, is for that Congress… For instance, if I were in Congress in 1941, I would have signed a support of declaration of war against Japan. I'm not going to attack Japan today. The world has changed, and the economic situation is different.” [NBC’s Meet the Press, 11/23]
While these negotiations continue, House Republicans should pass the bipartisan Senate bill that protects middle-class Americans and small businesses from seeing a tax increase on January 1. Both sides recognize that middle class taxes should not increase, so there’s no reason to wait to take action. A growing number of Republicans have agreed with this concept:
Rep. Tom Cole: “I think we ought to take the 98 percent deal right now … I don’t see that as a violation of my pledge.” [POLITICO, 11/27]
Rep. Mary Bono Mack: “I have to say that if you're going to sign me up with a camp, I like what Tom Cole has to say.” [CNN, 11/29]
Rep. Robert Dold: “Tom Cole is talking about passing the ones that are out there so there could be more certainty, and I think that would be a positive step.” [New York Times, 11/29]
Republicans have good reason to back away from their position of holding middle class tax cuts hostage. According to a recent Washington Post – ABC News Poll, a majority of Americans believe the solution to the fiscal cliff should include asking the wealthiest to pay their fair share.
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