Durbin: Election Fears Stifle GOP on Debt Compromise

Tuesday, 26 Jul 2011 09:21 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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Senate Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin says House GOP members won’t compromise on a debt ceiling deal because they fear they will lose their seats in 2012 if they “somehow even talk about revenue.”

Sen. Dick Durbin, GOP, compromise, debt“There are 32 senators now — almost evenly divided between the two parties — who stepped up and said they think the ‘Gang of Six’ approach is a grown-up, responsible, thoughtful way to deal with our long-term deficit,” said Durbin, a member of the bipartisan gang. “We put everything on the table . . . we put revenue, and entitlements, and spending — and we did it in a thoughtful, balanced way.

“It’s the same thing that the Bowles-Simpson commission did — we know this is the path,” he said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “But this notion that somehow we can’t even touch hedge-fund managers — that these ‘hedgehogs’ can’t even pay their fair share of taxes — you know if you start with that premise you end up with the standoff we have today.”

Durbin was asked why Republicans seem to be afraid to take action and admit what the ramifications would be if they don’t compromise on the debt issue.

“They’re afraid of a [House] primary thing — they’re afraid because they signed some tax pledge to some fellow here in Washington,” Durbin said, apparently referring to Grover Norquist’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a vow not to raise taxes that more than 200 House members have signed.

“And if they somehow even talk about revenue, they are going to end up in a primary fight and lose — they don’t want to face that,” he said. “Well, I can tell you there are enough Senate Republicans who’ve sit up and said the country is more important than any tax pledge to some individual.”

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