Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Sunday said that he was willing to break with anti-tax lobbyist Grover Norquist and find ways to raise additional revenues for the government because he was worried that spending cuts would hurt the military.
Norquist recently insisted to The Wall Street Journal that no Republicans would violate his tax pledge because of the so-called fiscal cliff, which he called a “completely invented crisis” where lawmakers of both parties agreed to automatic rate increases and spending cuts.
“What I would say to Grover is that the sequester destroys the United States military,” Graham told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. “I am willing to generate revenue. It’s fair to ask my party to put revenue on the table. We’re below historic averages. I will not raise tax rates to do it. I will cap deductions.”
“But to do this, I don’t just want a promise of spending cuts, I want entitlement reforms,” he added. “Republicans always put revenue on the table, Democrats always promise to cut spending. Well, we never cut spending. What I am looking for is more revenue for entitlement reform before the end of the year. I think that’s the magic deal.”
Stephanopoulos pointed out that Norquist had insisted that Graham would not go through with increasing revenue because “you like being a senator.”
“I love being a senator and I want to be a senator that matters for the state of South Carolina and the country,” Graham replied. “When you’re $16 trillion in debt, the only pledge we should be making to each other is to avoid becoming Greece. And Republicans should put revenue on the table. We’re this far in debt, we don’t generate enough revenue. Capping deductions will help generate revenue. Raising taxes rates will not help job creation.”
“So, I agree with Grover, we should not raise rates, but I think Grover is wrong when it comes to we can’t cap deductions and buy down debt. What do you do with the money? I want to buy down debt and cut rates to create jobs, but I will violate the pledge — long story short — for the good of the country, only if Democrats will do entitlement reform.”
While an increasing number of Republicans have signaled a willingness to break with the Americans for Tax Reform pledge after November’s election, Think Progress’ Travis Waldron asserted on Sunday that demanding cuts to earned benefits was not a reasonable solution to the country’s spending problem.
“Graham’s insistence on entitlement reforms ignores that Democrats have already made significant changes to Medicare (as part of the Affordable Care Act) and have proposed reforms to Social Security, even though the program is not in need of an immediate fix,” Waldron wrote.
Watch this video from ABC’s This Week, broadcast Nov. 25, 2012.