Potential for New Taxes Creates GOP Rift

Thursday, 17 Nov 2011 11:08 AM

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Two longtime Republican anti-tax advocates have been lobbying their GOP colleagues to accept new taxes as part of a deficit-reduction plan the congressional supercommittee is crafting. And now, Sen. Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania and Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas are facing a backlash from fellow conservatives, The Washington Post reported.

The committee is struggling to find at least $1.2 trillion in savings by Thanksgiving. The plan that Toomey and Hensarling are pushing would raise about $300 billion in taxes in the next 10 years through changes in the tax code, including eliminations in deductions, raising the ire of fellow conservatives, the Post reported.

“We’ve not had a conversation like this within the party in two decades,” Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., told the Post. On Wednesday, he got 70 House GOP members to sign on to a letter calling such tax increases “irresponsible and dangerous to the health of the United States.”

Anti-tax group Americans for Prosperity is pushing back against House Republicans who have shown any interest in new taxes by urging constituents to call into telephone town hall meetings and bought ad time. Regardless, some Republicans are coming around to the idea of taxes in such a dire situation.

“This is about more than money,” Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., told the Post. “It’s about whether the president and the Congress can competently govern, about whether we can face up to the biggest problem facing our country and, working together, can we solve that problem?”

The situation is so bad that even something as sacrosanct as Grover Norquist’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge no longer seems like a sure thing. Rep. Steven LaTourette, R-Ohio, who signed the pledge in 1994, told the Post, “Circumstances change.”

Rep. Charles Bass, R-N.H., said: “I want my constituents to know that I am not in favor of raising taxes. That’s why I signed that pledge. And I if I have to break that pledge for some reason, it would be because I think there’s a far greater good associated with it, and I’m willing to bear the consequences of that.”

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