Last week, all three GOP members of the much-maligned “Gang of Six” joined 30 other Republican senators in signing a letter to supercommittee members urging them not to include any “net tax increases” in their final plan. This was viewed as a significant development, as these three lawmakers — Sens. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.), Mike Crapo (R., Idaho) and Saxby Chambliss (R., Ga.) — are often thought of as the Republicans most willing to compromise on taxes.
However, Coburn, speaking to a scrum of reporters Monday evening, dismissed the letter — spearheaded by Sen. Jim DeMint (R., S.C.) — as “aspirational” and “meaningless.”
“I’m out there pretty bold on what I believe in terms of what we ought to tackle,” Coburn said. “And I’m willing to take some tax increases.”
And he’s not merely referring to higher “revenue,” which many Republicans have signaled a willingness to accept.
“If we could have our way, that’s what we’d get but we’re not going to get our way, are we?” Coburn said. “We’re not undermining any of the positions I’ve said. We’re going to have to have revenue increases to get entitlement reform. I stand firm to it.”
Coburn has been engaged in a long-running feud with anti-tax activist Grover Norquist (see here, for example). His latest comments will surely add fuel to that fire.