The twelve-member joint House-Senate “supercommittee” on budget reduction has less than three weeks left to submit a plan with at least $1.2 trillion in savings over the next ten years. Democrats (and their allies in the media establishment) are hoping that Republicans will cave on tax increases, which are, according to Sen. Ben Cardin (D., Md.), his party’s “number one priority.”
They are likely to be disappointed.
As was true in previous budget negotiations, the Left has tagged anti-tax activist Grover Norquist as a bogeyman. Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) has accused Republicans of being “led like puppets” by the founder and longtime president of Americans for Tax Reform, whose Taxpayer Protection Pledge most GOP members of Congress, including all six Republicans on the supercommittee, have signed.
Regardless of whether Norquist is the puppet master that liberals would like to believe he is, Republicans are poised to reject any offer that includes tax increases — as they have done, successfully, in every budget negotiation this year.
House speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) laid out his stance in an address to the Economic Club of Washington in September. “Tax increases . . . are not a viable option for the Joint Committee,” he said. “It’s a very simple equation. Tax increases destroy jobs.” Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) has repeatedly echoed this position.
But proponents of higher taxes continue to hold out hope. Some liberal media outlets were almost giddy at the news that 40 House Republicans had signed on to a letter to supercommittee members urging them to consider “all options,” including “raising revenue,” in pursuit of a bigger, $4 trillion proposal.
The list of GOP signers of the letter ranges from moderates like Reps. Steven LaTourette (R., Ohio) and Frank Wolf (R., Va.) to conservatives like Reps. Cynthia Lummis (R., Wyo.) and Paul Gosar (R., Ariz.). Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul (R., Texas) even added his name to the effort. Of the 40 members, all but three have signed the ATR pledge. “This is not an ideal world,” Lummis told the Associated Press. “Grover Norquist is not in my district. I represent the state of Wyoming and its people.”