Tax pledge loses some Republican adherents
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has joined other high-ranking Republicans willing to accept tax deduction limits as part of a deal to avoid sequestration, despite Grover Norquist saying this violates his no-tax pledge.
Speaking on the ABC's "This Week" on Nov. 25, Graham said that it's fair to ask Republicans to put such caps on the negotiation table and if they are placed high enough, in the $30,000 to $40,000 range, "the people who lose their deductions are the upper-income Americans."
Norquist has said such caps would need to come with a reduced tax rate.
Graham said he and other Republicans should be willing to make a deal when it comes to paying down the debt, even if it goes against Norquist's wishes. "I will violate the pledge, long story short, for the good of the country, only if Democrats will do entitlement reform," said Graham.
Graham did specify that he was against raising taxes, but said capping deductions will generate new revenue. As far as answering to Norquist's concerns, Graham said the sequestration would destroy the military and that alone means Republicans must work to get rid of it.
Graham follows Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) in disavowing the pledge. In a Nov. 21 interview with the WMAZ TV station in Georgia, Chambliss said that Norquist's plan continues to add to the debt and that he's willing to break the pledge to avoid the fiscal cliff.
The pledge has recently lost some favor as the litmus test for Republican representatives. Reuters reports that 16 new Republicans in the House and one in the Senate have not signed the pledge.
Also speaking on "This Week," Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Democrats need to meet the Republicans half way, "We need to be honest on our side of the aisle. And as we did under Bowles-Simpson, put everything on the table."
Durbin said there is "no excuse" for Congress not to resolve this issue by the end of the year.
Congress has until the end of the year to negotiate a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff, a situation that could cause 1.4 million jobs to be lost and the unemployment rate to rise to 9.1 percent.