Last week, we pointed out that House Republicans were beclowning themselves in their attempt to replace the impending budget sequester. They were putting forth Keynesian arguments of jobs stimulus and opening the door for tax increases in order to strike a deal with Democrats.
Now Roll Call is reporting that there is a new Gang of 6 (yes, that always means trouble) ready to raise taxes as part of a grand bipartisan deal to replace the very thing they agreed to pass last year. The 3 Republicans – Kelly Ayotte, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham – joined 3 Democrats – Carl Levin, Jeanne Shaheen, and Sheldon Whitehouse – in sending a letter to Senate leaders requesting a bipartisan deal:
“We are committed to working together to help forge a balanced bipartisan deficit reduction package to avoid damage to our national security, important domestic priorities, and our economy,” the Senators wrote.
It is not insignificant that the group used the “balanced” to describe their goal because that has been the term of choice for Democrats who want to see targeted tax increases as part of any deficit reduction deal. Of course, Republicans have been more open to raising taxes by eliminating certain tax loopholes and deductions rather than changing income tax rates on the wealthy, as Democrats would do.
Now that the Senate has recessed until after the November election, McCain, Graham and Ayotte are resuming their nationwide tour to discuss the effects of sequestration. The trio will visit Colorado Springs, Colo., on Tuesday. The area is the home of both an Army base at Fort Carson and Peterson Air Force Base. Colorado is also considered a swing state in the presidential race.
“We look forward to visiting Colorado Springs to sound the alarm about the profound negative consequences of these cuts to our national security and economy,” Ayotte, Graham and McCain said in a joint statement. “This community – which plays such a critical role in our nation’s defense – will bear the brunt of the defense sequestration cuts. It is a voice that must be heard in Washington.”
In a brief interview last week, Graham reiterated his support for a long-term deficit plan based on the principles outlined by the Simpson-Bowles commission, in which the elimination of credits and deductions within the tax code would be used to help lower marginal tax rates and contribute to balancing the budget.
Levin has said he is confident the sequester will be avoided and that Congress should do more to send signals to federal contractors and the broader economy that both sides will reach an agreement during the lame-duck session. Reid expressed a similar view to reporters last week.
So once again they are claiming that we need military spending in order to preserve jobs. That is the same argument Obama used with the stimulus. To be clear, we must preserve our military because we need a strong national security, not because it creates jobs.
Worse, they are now opening the door to agree to massive tax increases in order to replace the sequester. This is especially egregious on the part of McCain since he voted for the sequester in the first place.
Most of us conservatives never supported the debt ceiling deal to begin with. We should not be forced to settle for tax increases in order to mitigate the damage from the debt ceiling disaster.
As we prepare for the lame duck session, impending tax increases will be the most potent threat for conservatives. Unfortunately, there are a number of folks in our party who are ready to use the sequester as a vehicle for Obama’s tax hikes.
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