Three days after President Joe Biden signed the debt limit deal that averted a U.S. default on the national debt, one of the nation's best known crusaders against taxes hailed the measure as "a good deal."
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax, Americans For Tax Reform President Grover Norquist praised the spending cuts made in the final agreement of the package that narrowly passed the House and was championed by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in negotiations with Biden.
"What did the Democrats get? The debt ceiling increase," Norquist said. "Everything else was a Republican win."
Norquist reminded Newsmax how the press almost universally concluded that — given the closest margin dividing the parties in the House since 1930 as well as the marathon 15 votes it took McCarthy to be elected speaker of the House last January — the package enacted by House Members was doomed before it was even negotiated by Biden and McCarthy.
"So what did we get?" Norquist asked rhetorically. "For one thing, we got $22 billion taken away from the IRS, $20 billion of that going to other spending issues."
Norquist believes that is critical because "the IRS is a force multiplier for big government. Not only does it raise cash for government, but it is now used to intimidate people, to release tax data to one's enemies, [and] to threaten taxpayers."
Norquist also believes that the IRS "is politicized already and now it's weaponized, so defunding any of that effort is very helpful. We would rather anybody have tax dollars other than the IRS."
Citing the clawing back of the estimated $37 billion in unused COVID money and other spending cuts that were in the final package, the ATR president pointed out that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) "scored it as somewhere between $1.3-$2 trillion in overall spending cuts over the next ten years. CBO bounces around a bit, but it is a substantial number."
Without question, Norquist is looking forward to the appropriations process that will determine non-discretionary spending, on which present level increases are limited to 1%.
"It's required to have a vote on 12 Appropriations committees [in the House] to do appropriations," he said. "When you do that, then you could actually legislate. None of this money can be used for 'x,' none of this money can be used for 'y.' You can't do that in an omnibus."
In effect, Norquist said, "This would allow you to force every deed to vote for every piece of the government. And that means Democrats will have votes on spending issues that they haven't had votes on in the last ten years or so, when you didn't get very specific when you put everything in one big omnibus bill."
Now, Norquist predicted, "Republicans will be beating Democrats for years to come because of them now having to vote on issues that are contentious."
The ATR then turned to the issue that has been his "magnificent obsession" for decades: tax increases. He recalled how two Republican presidents were, in his words, "tricked" into accepting tax increases by a Democratic-controlled House in return for spending cuts that never materialized.
"In 1982, Democrats and some Republicans were having fainting spells over the deficit ... just over $200 billion at the time," he said, "and that we had to do something or the world was going to end. So they agree on a deal of $3 of spending cuts for every dollar of tax increase. Taxes did go up — every tax they said they were going to raise was raised — but there were no spending cuts."
[Ronald Reagan told The Wall Street Journal in 1983, "We had a tax increase last year premised on the idea we were going to get $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in increased revenue. We never got the $3 in spending cuts. We think we're owed something."]
"This happened again in 1990 with George H.W. Bush, when he was promised a 2-for-1 deal of spending cuts for tax increases," Norquist said. "Taxes went up, there were no spending cuts, and it was key to his defeat for reelection."
This time, Norquist concluded, "we got spending cuts with no tax increase. And when Republicans have the presidency and much more than a teeny majority in the House, we'll get those big spending cuts we've been waiting for."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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