Grover Norquist: GOP Should Support 'B-Plus' Budget Deal

Wednesday, 11 Dec 2013 05:59 PM

By John Gizzi and Bill Hoffmann

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Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, strongly praised the budget deal that emerged from Congress on Tuesday, saying that while "the increased fees in the deal are annoying, "the package is one that fellow conservatives should support."

Asked to grade the deal, Norquist — in interviews Wednesday with Newsmax and "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV — said he would give it a "B-plus."

"I wish they had replaced the fees with real spending cuts," Norquist told Newsmax, "but it's a good deal."

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Story continues below video.

Norquist — famed for ATR's pledge in which candidates sign promises not to support new tax increases — explained that "Democrats wanted three things and got none of them."

"Democrats wanted $1.4 trillion in tax increases, including an increase in the income tax. They got none of it. They wanted the complete end of the sequester. That didn't happen and the sequester won't go away. And they wanted to ratchet up spending limits. That didn't happen," Norquist said.

"And the spending cuts [in the deal] are real cuts because the change is in the law."

He added that "once you're outside the 10-year limit, the savings will grow, and eventually the savings will explode."

Norquist singled out House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's presence in the negotiations with Senate Democratic counterpart Patty Murray as pivotal in the finalization of a "good deal."

"Paul Ryan is a hero," Norquist said of the Wisconsin congressman and 2012 Republican nominee for vice president. "He made all the difference. He went up against the Democrats and came out with something good."

To skeptics of the deal on the right, Norquist said that "they should just consider that, by agreement, the federal government will spend less than it did before. That's pretty good."

Norquist is concerned about the increased fee for the Transportation Security Administration, which provides airport security.

"That I find very problematic, the TSA fees, I really want to see an effort to replace those with straight spending cuts," he said.

He praised tea party activists for bringing "one huge crown jewel" to the Republican Party: the sequester.

"The spending limits that the president was forced to agree to in August of 2011, not only with how much you spend one year, but 10 years . . . We had a Republican Party up until the tea party that said we're not going to raise taxes. That was good, that was important," Norquist said.

"But the Republican Party, particularly . . . under [George W.] Bush, forgot [to] stop spending so much of other people's money. And the tea party got scared straight by Obama's massive overspending."

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