Grover Norquist: Offsetting VA Bill Difficult

Thursday, 07 Aug 2014 02:19 PM

By Melissa Clyne

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Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist told Newsmax TV Thursday that he wished Republicans would have offset spending on the $16 billion appropriated to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs, but that the magnitude of the problem made it challenging.

“It would've been helpful to do it on veterans, the challenge there was there was such a systemic problem,” he said on “America’s Forum,” where he was joined by Forbes.com senior contributor Rick Ungar. “I wish there'd been in that bill more reforms, I would like to see people fired first and then talked about additional resources or resources for the next year, but not longer."

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The Washington Times reports that nearly $1 trillion could be added to the federal debt over the next decade as a result of the Republican-controlled House passing more than a dozen bills, including the veterans affairs bill, with costs that are not fully offset elsewhere.

Other tax breaks passed by the House include “a $155 billion research and development tax credit, a $90 billion expansion of the child tax credit to higher-income families and a $2 billion enhanced tax deduction for businesses that make charitable food donations,” according to the Times.

Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has accused Republicans of being hypocrites who “unfairly refuse to offset any of their tax giveaways, yet they demand full offsets on key investments and priorities for the American people.”

Norquist said Pelosi thinks tax cuts should be an offset because in her purview “this is all the government's money and if you're going to have a tax cut and not give the government as much money, you have to give the government money from somewhere else.”

Ungar suggested that Norquist misinterpreted Pelosi’s position.

“I don't think she was suggesting that tax cuts be offset, and if she was, I'd be with Grover and disagree with that,” Ungar said. “What she was pointing out is we too often see that corporate welfare bills that find their way through the House don't require offsets where other types of bills that may be sponsored by Democrats do.”


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