MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell on Wednesday told anti-tax lobbyist Grover Norquist that he was living in an “Alice in Wonderland world” after he claimed that Republican lawmakers had not violated the no-tax pledge by voting in favor of a fiscal cliff compromise that hiked taxes on the richest Americans.
“Why were you in favor of this?” Mitchell asked Norquist during a Wednesday interview. “This is the first tax increase Republicans have voted for in 20 years.”
“Because, of course, no Republican voted for a tax increase,” the Americans for Tax Reform founder insisted. “What happened was [President Barack] Obama had this Sword of Damocles over the heads of the American people with a $5 trillion tax increase over that next decade that would happen automatically unless the House, Senate and president voted on something.”
Norquist asserted that Obama didn’t care about killing jobs by letting President George W. Bush’s temporary tax cuts expire because the president’s own job was safe after being re-elected.
“The tax increases that he insisted on, all the Republicans in the House and the Senate have voted more than once to extend the Bush tax for everyone permanently,” he explained. “So, the Republicans are quite clear, they want the tax cuts extended for everyone. The president insisted on taking them away from some people. That’ll hurt the economy. He got his tax increase, but he can’t claim Republican fingerprints on his tax increase.”
“Wait a second,” Mitchell laughed. “I mean, we’re not living in the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ world here. There is a tax increase for wealthier Americans. It’s literally a tax increase. Rates are up.”
“Well, what happened yesterday is that all the rates went up and then the Republicans and the Congress together took them down for some people, not for everybody,” Norquist declared. “There was an automatic tax increase, a whole series of tax increases, which were then countermanded in a second bill.”
He added that Obama had lost all his “clout” in the fiscal cliff compromise and Republicans could now hold the debt ceiling increase hostage by saying, “You’re going to cut spending a trillion dollars at the same time or no deal.”
“But last time I looked, Congress appropriated the money the debt ceiling now has to accommodate,” Mitchell noted. “Its bill is past due.”
“Which Congress?” Norquist replied. “The president’s party passed Obamacare, with its trillions of dollars of additional spending. The Republican House of Representatives all voted against that.”
“There’s plenty of other money in there that this Congress voted for,” the MSNBC host pointed out. “The House-led Republicans went along with a lot of spending in the past two years.”
Watch the video below from MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, broadcast Jan. 2, 2013.