In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Wiggle Room For Grover? Norquist Can't Quite Say 'Hell No' To New Revenue


But that is different from supporting a plan by some Democrats that would end some or all of these lower tax rates, higher per-child tax credits and the A.M.T. patches -- policies that, by the way, Congress has extended repeatedly with bipartisan support. It is difficult to see how such a package would fail to violate the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

Emphasis added. Maybe he needs to see the details. Maybe he could bless a plan like this if it included matching tax cuts elsewhere. But he's leaving himself plenty of wiggle room.

In a statement yesterday, Norquist noted that if the Bush tax cuts aren't made permanent, it will result in a tax increase. To that, he said, "It is a violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to trade temporary tax reductions for permanent tax hikes."

The wording here's a little inscrutable. Seems like he's saying that allowing some of the (temporary) Bush tax cuts to (permanently) expire is a by definition a violation. But it can be read another way, too: No offsetting a tax increase with a temporary cut (like, perhaps, to the payroll tax), even if they add up to zero over the 10 year budget window. And if that's what he's talking about then he's dodging the pressing question in the debate over tax reform.

About The Author


Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at