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Grover Norquist Gives The GOP A Pass On Raising Taxes

Grover Norquist, the head of Americans For Tax Reform who for two years now has taken on a reputation of being the man who has the House GOP Caucus in his pocket thanks to the pledge not to increase taxes that the vast majority of its members have signed at one point or another in their political career, has given the GOP a pass on raising taxes on high income earners:

Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform is giving House Republican’s a pass on Speaker John Boehner’s “Plan B” to let tax rates go up on incomes above $1 million.

In a blog post on ATR’s website, the group states that a vote for Plan B, which could come up as early as Thursday, will not be a violation of the pledge.

“This legislation — popularly known as “Plan B”— permanently prevents a tax increase on families making less than $1 million per year. Republicans supporting this bill are this week affirming to their constituents in writing that this bill — the sole purpose of which is to prevent tax increases — is consistent with the pledge they made to them. In ATR’s analysis, it is extremely difficult — if not impossible—to fault these Republicans’ assertion.”

ATR argues that because House Republicans have “already voted twice to prevent any tax increases on any American” and because the bill “contains no tax increases of any kind” it would not be a pledge violation. Boehner’s bill permanently extends the Bush tax cuts for those who make less than $1 million, and would simply let taxes go up for those above that threshold by letting them expire.

The House is apparently scheduled to vote on this “Plan B” sometime this week, however it has absolutely no chance of making it through the Senate and President Obama has said that he would veto the bill if it ever did make it to his desk. Arguably, when Plan B dies, and regardless of what happens regarding the fiscal cliff over the next 13 days, Norquist could argue that his comments only applied to the proposal put forward by Speaker Boehner and not any other piece of legislation. Any such comments, though, would end up being nothing more than intellectually dishonest prevaricating. Up until today, it was the position of ATR as an organization and Norquist in particular that there can be no increases in existing tax rates and no changes in deductions and loopholes that are not offset by spending cuts. That’s no longer the case. Today, Norquist essentially endorsed a proposal that increases taxes on a portion of the population. Win or lose on Plan B, I would submit that this undercuts the entire logic of the ATR pledge. Were I a Republican Member of Congress, I would no longer consider myself bound by it.

As David Weigel notes, Norquists position on Plan B is opposite of the one taken by other conservative groups such as The Heritage Foundation and The Club For Growth, both of whom have come out strongly against the  package. However, it’s the ATR pledge that has achieved near legendary status on Capitol Hill these past couple years. Today, the power of that pledge suffered a significant blow.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. legion says:

    Can we please shove Grover into the “politically irrelevant” category with Ann Coulter and Dennis Miller?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  2. Gromitt Gunn says:

    Why the heck is Grover Norquist sitting in front of a bear (the gay male subculture) flag? Bizarre.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  3. Tsar Nicholas says:

    It’s as obvious as sunlight vs. darkness that taxes are going to get increased. The only remaining issues are how bad the damage will be and in exchange for playing along what the GOP can extract from Team Obama. The slow drip reality therapy of reality apparently has worked itself upon Norquist. Others still haven’t yet clued in, however. Which simply is a function of bad demographics and cocooned existence.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  4. wr says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: “It’s as obvious as sunlight vs. darkness that taxes are going to get increased. ”

    Is that more or less obvious than “sun rises in the east”?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  5. cd6 says:

    Looks like Islamfascist (study it out!) Grover Norquist is just DRINKING THE OBAMA KOOL AID

    Everyone knows that raising taxes on our most beloved and precious resource (rich people) is a surefire way to get this once great country on the straight train to TAXAFORNIA, and everyone knows how that movie ends.

    Looks like Grover is, like Boehner, just another liberal plant, playing the long game to embed themselves into the GOP, earn positions of trust, then reveal the cloak & make conservatives look bad. Well the game is afoot, my friends. The game is afoot.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  6. rudderpedals says:

    Best be selling your Grovers short. You can short sell anything now – cities, countries, Grovers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  7. de stijl says:

    From Doug’s post:

    However, it’s the ATR pledge that has achieved near legendary status on Capitol Hill these past couple years. Today, the power of that pledge suffered a significant blow.

    Tax cuts were never the goal. Tax rates are the MacGuffin. Norquist by his own words, said the goal was to “drown the beast.”

    We need to acknowledge that this anti-tax cult is not really about taxes, but is at its heart, is all about utterly undoing the New Deal & the Great Society.

    Every debate about economic policy that involves Republican input shout be viewed through this prism that one party is basically predicated upon the fact that Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the paltry remnants of Welfare – the safety net, should not only die, but be utterly repudiated. If they could get away with a constitutional amendment on this stuff they would.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  8. Sandman says:

    @de stijl: ” If they could get away with a constitutional amendment on this stuff they would.”

    Does this mean that you too are against changing the constitution, as so many others seem to be so willing to do, because somebody isn’t happy about something?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8

  9. michael reynolds says:

    @de stijl:

    What you said.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  10. @cd6:

    What are you drinking? And where can I get some?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  11. de stijl says:

    @Sandman:

    Does this mean that you too are against changing the constitution, as so many others seem to be so willing to do, because somebody isn’t happy about something?

    No, I am not against changing the constitution. What a strange argument you’re making.

    My point, if I wasn’t clear in my previous comment, was that Rs, as a general rule, want something – the obliteration of the safety net – that they cannot state out loud & and if they did say it out load, they would be judged by the electorate and given the polling on the issue, that judgement would be unfavorable.

    If they stated their desires plainly, they would fail, so they obfuscate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  12. grumpy realist says:

    I think Lil’ Grover is desperately running along the parade attempting to still remain relevant.

    I’m at the point of shrugging my shoulders and saying So What? Let’s go over the cliff….let’s cut even more. Maybe we have to rub America’s nose in the idiocy of our bloody Republican members of the House, all of whom seem to be barking lunatics.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  13. Whitfield says:

    If we don’t make it past tomorrow, good luck to everyone and so long. Nice knowing you.
    Have fun!!
    12-21-12

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Grover Norquist is a gutless pussy.

    Nuff said.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  15. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Geez, I’m really feeling sorry for the left these days. They’re running out of boogeymen to demonize.

    The Koch brothers, Richard Mellon Scaife, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Norquist, Roger Ailes, Rush Limbaugh… have I missed any?

    And if anyone can give me a hint as to who’s next to become The Great Satan, I’d be grateful as hell. I could clean up in this little betting pool…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 9

  16. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    and if they did say it out load

    You know, a decent spellchecker would understand about context and suggest that “load” was not the word that you probably want to use here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  17. jd says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: From Wikipedia – “In 2010, Norquist joined the advisory board of GOProud, a political organization representing conservative gays, lesbians, transgendered people, and their allies, for which he was criticized by the Family Research Council. Norquist also sits on a six-person advisory panel that nominates Time magazine’s Person of the Year.”

    So, if all that’s true, my head’s about ready to explode.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  18. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Doug Mataconis: That’s strange, I thought he was being snarky. Hmmmm……

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  19. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: But if he is drinking, put me down for a container load or so, too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  20. de stijl says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Geez, I’m really feeling sorry for the left these days. They’re running out of boogeymen to demonize.

    The Koch brothers, Richard Mellon Scaife, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Norquist, Roger Ailes, Rush Limbaugh… have I missed any?

    The folks that you mentioned essentially made their bones by demonizing what they think of as their political enemies. (Arguably, Norquist is not primarily a demonizer, but his message is. Cheney is probably better characterized as more demon than demonizer.)

    Like Tsar Nicholas, you may want to brush up on the definition of “irony.” Check out the definition of “projection” too – n.b. not the movie theater context, but the psychological one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  21. swbarnes2 says:

    @jd:

    He isn’t outrageously anti-Muslim either, because of his wife. He probably has a gay child, or relative, or close friend. That’s the only reason conservatives give a sh*t about anyone who isn’t straight, white, Christian and male.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  22. Jc says:

    Lmao. Grover from donttaxame street approve Boners plan B, and yet Boner still can’t get the votes in the house to pass it. Sad. I wonder what plan C is? “C is for Cliffy that’s good enough for me, C is for Cliffy….” oh well, if the economy dodges a recession after the cliff, then GOP will be even more confused and screwed up than it is now

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. An Interested Party says:

    And if anyone can give me a hint as to who’s next to become The Great Satan, I’d be grateful as hell.

    Hillary Clinton, of course, because that whole concussion thing is nothing more than a part of a larger conspiracy…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0