Photo: Gage Skidmore (Flickr)
The man time magazine calls the most powerful non-elected official in America says President Obama needs to put forward a written plan for a debt ceiling deal, not just talk about it.
Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist said that deal needs to include serious spending cuts. Norquist was in Indianapolis for a Republican fundraiser where he announced the formation of a “taxpayer protection caucus” in the state Senate.
Seven state Senators have signed Americans for Tax Reform‘s no-new-taxes pledge. In Congress, 41 U.S. Senators and a majority of the House, 240 members, have signed Norquist‘s pledge, vowing never to vote for any tax hike that isn‘t balanced by at least as much in spending cuts. Norquist said the conversation about tax increases is off the table for several reasons.
“One, majority of the house have taken the pledge that they‘re not raising taxes. Two, they‘ve said very clearly, pledge aside, they‘re not raising taxes and three, the problem is we‘re spending too much money. Raising taxes doesn‘t reduce spending a penny. Raising taxes doesn‘t solve the problem of overspending,” said Norquist.
Critics charge the pledge has limited the ability of Congress to negotiate a debt ceiling deal. Norquist said that Republicans have already compromised significantly, coming down from the $6 trillion in spending cuts they approved in House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan‘s proposed budget.
They‘re now offering to agree to $2.5 trillion in cuts, the same amount the debt ceiling needs to rise to avoid rekindling the debate next year. Norquist argues it‘s Obama who won‘t compromise, by trying to get Republicans to abandon the ATR pledge.