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The Norquist-Approved Tax Deal That’s Not In The Debt Talks—Yet The Norquist-Approved Tax Deal That’s Not In The Debt Talks—Yet

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Budget / DEBT CEILING

The Norquist-Approved Tax Deal That’s Not In The Debt Talks—Yet

Anti-tax-hike champion spoke at National Journal July 14, 2011. (RICHARD A. BLOOM)

photo of Tim Fernholz
July 14, 2011

A mechanism that would let Republicans raise taxes as part of a debt limit agreement has the approval of the party’s top anti-tax enforcer but has yet to garner support among GOP lawmakers.

The plan, which would fund long-term tax relief for the middle class with as much as a $1 trillion in new revenues found by closing tax loopholes, could have been the cornerstone of a grand fiscal bargain.

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“If you incorporate an extension for some period of time for the middle end, it would be a done deal,” an administration official, speaking anonymously because of the sensitivity of the negotiations, told National Journal. ”You never know what re-emerges.”

Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform, which promotes an anti-tax pledge signed by nearly every single federally elected Republican, told National Journal on Thursday that the plan wouldn’t violate his organization’s principles.

Congress annually borrows money to exempt the middle class from the effects of the Alternative Minimum Tax, which was instituted in 1970 to collar high-earning tax evaders but now affects a much broader share of the population. Linking a long-term exemption to closed tax loopholes would meet Republican standards for tax reform and generate $700 billion in real deficit savings.

“We could trade you deductions and credits in return for an AMT fix … as long as, over the same period of time, it’s at least the same amount of money,” Norquist said. “You can’t trade a temporary tax cut for a permanent tax increase, but if they’re both permanent or they’re both temporary, that works. And that may yet be something you do.”

On the Hill, some Republicans remained open to the concept, but one, Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., warned that “just because Grover Norquist said it, doesn’t make it gospel.”

 


 

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