One of the most stubborn Senate Democrats on the fiscal cliff negotiations said she believes Republicans are beginning to realize that refusing to raise taxes on the upper-income brackets “is a dead end argument for them.”
“I think there’s a growing understanding among Republicans that putting us in that position doesn’t help them at all, the country at all and does put us in jeopardy,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said yesterday on MSNBC. “So accepting that now, which the country spoke out on in the election, the president won on this issue. The Democratic Senate won on this issue, numerous people talked about this.”
“We have talked for a number of years now about the challenges we have in terms of the debt and deficit and our long term programs. Everybody knows that we have to deal with that in a realistic way. But we have not talked about the investments that are needed in this country that will help make us stronger in the future,” she added. “Whether we’re talking about education or job training or investment in our infrastructure or providing the services for our veterans when they come home or those kinds of things that we can’t just continue to talk about cutting government.”
On Hannity last night, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), who’s taking heat for saying a deal is more important than Grover Norquist’s tax pledge, stressed “you just can’t have a hundred percent of everything you want.”
“If Speaker Boehner and Eric Cantor have said, they’re willing to put revenues on the table, then it’s incumbent upon the president to come forward and say, OK, we’ll going to put entitlements on the table in a big way, and we’re going to get this done, and he’s not doing that,” he said. “And I was disappointed to hear some of my colleagues in the Senate say, yesterday that, well, you know, you give us the revenues, and then we’ll talk about entitlement reform later. Ain’t going to happen. We’re not going there.”
The senator also explained his disagreement with the Americans for Tax Reform leader.
“The Simpson-Bowles plan that came out that said we’re going to address the long-term debt of this country, recommended that you eliminate all tax credits and tax inclusions in a major tax reform package. The gang of six that I was a part of, still I’m a part of, followed that recommendation. We think you ought to eliminate all of that. That will generate about $1.2 trillion in revenue. No new taxes. Revenue. Then you decide whether you’re going to add the mortgage interest deduction, charitable deduction, other things back in there,” Chambliss said.
“So the question is, what do you do with that revenue that’s been generated? We owe $16 trillion. I think that you got to pay part of that revenue towards that debt just like every single American that owns a home pays part of their monthly revenue towards their mortgage debt,” he continued. “It’s exactly the same thing. The problem that Grover and I have is that he says, if you do that, that’s a tax increase, because the rest of it is going to go to lowering tax rates, and that’s not 100 percent going to lowering tax rates.”