Democrats Propose Plan for Republicans to Get Around Norquist Pledge

Wednesday, 18 Jul 2012 10:18 AM

By Patrick Hobin

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Senate Democrats believe they have come up with a plan to get around Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge by letting all tax cuts lapse Jan. 1 and then reinstating most of them days later, the New York Times reported.

Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota, chairman of the Budget Committee, said the plan was a legitimate way to for Republicans to get out of their pledges with Norquist not to vote for any tax increase. Norquist told the Times the idea “doesn’t pass the laugh test.”

Endorsed by Ronald Reagan upon its inception in 1986, the Taxpayer Protection Pledge — which Norquist says he dreamed up when he was 12-years-old — has been signed by over 1,100 state office holders as well as 238 current House members and 41 current Senators.

The plan shows efforts by lawmakers to include new federal revenues in an attempt to avoid the “fiscal cliff” in January, the Times reported. All Bush-era tax cuts expire at that time and automatic spending cuts to the military kick in.

Republican leaders say Democrats are playing a dangerous game of fiscal chicken with the nation's financial health and defense with threats to let the Bush tax cuts lapse and devastating military cuts kick in at year's end.

“Democrats in Congress are now saying that they would rather see taxes go up on every American at the end of the year than let about a million businesses keep what they earn now,” Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, said, according to the Times. “This isn’t an economic agenda. It’s an ideological crusade.”

A new report estimates that automatic budget cuts will cost the economy two million jobs and Republicans say the a “fiscal cliff” could be avoided by extending the Bush tax cuts to all income groups, but several leading Democrats threatened this week to let the automatic cuts kick in at year's end.

Letting the Bush cuts lapse, agree many economists, would be devastating to the nation's tender economic recovery.

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