Q: Are you open to supporting some version of a value-added tax?
DEMOCRATS (38 votes)
Yes 53 percent No 37 percent Volunteered: Depends, 8 percent; irrelevant, 3 percent. e>
"This is a truly progressive tax. And if implemented properly, it could raise more revenue and do it more fairly than the current system."
"The U.S is the only developed country that does not have a VAT. Instituting one will help level the playing field on trade, making our goods more competitive with European products."
"It is a positive outcome of our current debt posture. A VAT solves debt and entitlement solvency all at once."
"The best tax reform would be [Rep.] Chaka Fattah's idea of transaction fees, increasing our revenues while dumping income [taxes] and corporate taxes."
"I am open to hearing about anything that can change our tax code."
"I'm open as long as we take steps to reduce other taxes, like the income tax."
"I'm a tax-and-spend liberal, so you can't expect anything else."
"President Obama promised no tax increases for Americans who earn less than $200,000 a year. Maybe after his re-election."
"It wouldn't be prudent to add a VAT with the economy in its present state."
"Depends on how it is structured."
"Irrelevant question. Congress won't be able to take up broad tax reform this election year. All ideas for cutting costs or raising revenue would have a greater chance of being implemented if they were part of a holistic recommendation from a congressionally approved, bipartisan debt commission rather than independent ideas being tossed around piecemeal."
REPUBLICANS (33 votes)Yes 12 percent No 88 percent e>
"Would consider as a replacement to the current code."
"But only if we pass a constitutional amendment removing the income tax."
"[But] depends entirely on the proposal."
"I'm not sure how much more political suicide the Democrat majority wants to inflict, but we would welcome these debates with great enthusiasm."
"VAT is a politician's dream tax: hidden, seems small, and taxpayers don't know they are paying it."
"Democrats seem to be taking all their ideas from Europe: first, socialized medicine; now, a VAT."
"Congress should be considering tax relief to boost our economy, not job-killing tax hikes."
"With unemployment hovering around 10 percent and our economy still in the tank, this is the last thing we need if we're trying to get our economy back on the right track."
"Republicans will not vote to raise taxes to sustain spending that they opposed in the first place. Democrats created the current budget and expanded entitlements without GOP support. They will have to raise the taxes to support them."
"I am open to slashing government spending, though."
"Don't think Obama will push a VAT this year; plays too much into criticism that he wants U.S.A. to be like E.U."
"Passing a VAT killed Canada's old party of the right. After creating their version of the tax, they went from holding 169 parliamentary seats to just two in a single election. That was Canada's reaction. Imagine ours."
"There they go again."
Q: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says that "we're going to have comprehensive immigration reform now." How likely is Congress to enact it this year?
DEMOCRATS (38 votes)Very likely 5 percent Somewhat likely 32 percent Somewhat unlikely 24 percent Very unlikely 39 percent e>
"Congress just passed a landmark health care bill a century in the making and still has steam. Immigration reform is critical to stabilizing our workforce and putting an end to using Immigration and Customs Enforcement as union busters."
"Enact reform and add $1.5 trillion to the GDP over the next 10 years, or deport immigrants and cost our country $2.6 trillion."
"Hottest of the hot-button issues. The president says it must be bipartisan, but there's precious little of that going around today."
"We are getting mixed messages from Sen. Reid. First, he will bring it up, right away, then he puts it on hold."
"Reid is toast in his election if he doesn't. The future of the Republican Party is toast if they insult the fastest-growing segment of the electorate. Can political necessity and good policy thump racism and fear?"
"The only thing Democrats know for sure is that they have the majority until November, so they'll at least try for it."
"Toxic in an election year."
"Even those of us who want it do not honestly believe the votes are there during an election year."
"Way too hot for the environment right now. Save this for January."
"We need reform, but the House will probably not consider it until next year."
"Next to nil."
"I commend Reid on his willingness to lead on such a touchy issue, but it is unlikely to move in an election year."
"No issue so badly needs a bipartisan coalition to get through. And the 'Hell, no!' party says it won't come back to the table."
REPUBLICANS (33 votes)Very likely 3 percent Somewhat likely 3 percent Somewhat unlikely 27 percent Very unlikely 67 percent e>
"If that's what Reid says, we should take him at his word."
"The Democrats know this will help them in critical state races in places like Texas and Colorado. They are crafting something now behind closed doors and will ram and jam it late summer, early fall."
"Harry Reid talking about immigration reform is more about messaging for his re-election than about the agenda the Senate will actually debate. He is nearly as out of touch in Washington as he is in Nevada."
"Pelosi and Reid will throw a bone to the Hispanic Caucus, let the bill go down to defeat and proclaim how they fought for the Latino community."
"If you thought the populist storm surrounding health care was divisive, you haven't seen anything yet."
"Democratic House leadership isn't going to take on any more challenging issues unless the Senate does the heavy lifting and ties it with a bow."
"After being snubbed on health care and other priorities, the Hispanic Caucus and liberal Democrats won't stand [for] a commonsense, limited reform measure that could be done in a bipartisan way."
"For the fourth year in a row, Democrats will fail to produce the immigration bill they promised. They missed their chance when they decided not to work with Bush. They want an issue, not a solution."
"Heeeeerrrrree's ... Pelosi--"
"I'd love to see them try."
"The ultimate divisive issue."
National Journal Insiders
Democratic Congressional Insiders Sens. Sherrod Brown, Ben Cardin, Thomas Carper, Christopher Dodd, Frank Lautenberg, Barbara Mikulski, Mark Pryor, Jon Tester, Tom Udall, Mark Warner; Reps. Jason Altmire, Robert Andrews, Michael Arcuri, Tammy Baldwin, Melissa Bean, Xavier Becerra, Howard Berman, Marion Berry, Rick Boucher, Lois Capps, Michael Capuano, Dennis Cardoza, Chris Carney, James Clyburn, Gerry Connolly , Jim Cooper, Joseph Crowley, Elijah Cummings, Artur Davis, Diana DeGette, Rosa DeLauro, Eliot Engel, Anna Eshoo, Sam Farr, Chaka Fattah, Bob Filner, Phil Hare, Alcee Hastings, Rush Holt, Mike Honda, Steve Israel, Frank Kratovil, Jim Langevin, John Lewis, Zoe Lofgren, Nita Lowey, Carolyn Maloney, Ed Markey, Jim McDermott, Jim McGovern, Mike McMahon, Kendrick Meek, Jim Moran, David Price, Silvestre Reyes, Linda Sanchez, Jan Schakowsky, Mark Schauer, Jose Serrano, Adam Smith, John Spratt, Pete Stark, Bart Stupak, John Tanner, Ellen Tauscher, Bennie Thompson, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Henry Waxman, and Peter Welch.
GOP Congressional Insiders Sens. Lamar Alexander, Jim Bunning, John Cornyn, Jim DeMint, John Ensign, Lindsey Graham, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Johnny Isakson, George LeMieux, Richard Lugar, Lisa Murkowski, Jeff Sessions, Olympia Snowe, John Thune, David Vitter; Reps. Michele Bachmann, Brian Bilbray, Marsha Blackburn, Roy Blunt, John Boehner, Charles Boustany, Kevin Brady, John Campbell, Eric Cantor, John Carter, Michael Castle, Tom Cole, Mike Conaway, David Dreier, Jeff Flake, Scott Garrett, Bob Goodlatte, Kay Granger, Doc Hastings, Pete Hoekstra, Darrell Issa, Peter King, Jack Kingston, Mark Kirk, John Kline, Christopher Lee, Dan Lungren, Kenny Marchant, Kevin McCarthy, Patrick McHenry, John Mica, Candice Miller, Sue Myrick, Devin Nunes, Mike Pence, Tom Price, Adam Putnam, Dave Reichert, Mike Rogers of Michigan, Peter Roskam, Paul Ryan, Pete Sessions, John Shadegg, Adrian Smith, Mark Souder, Pat Tiberi, Fred Upton, and Joe Wilson.
This article appears in the April 17, 2010, edition of National Journal Magazine Contents.