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Grover Norquist: Boehner's 'Plan B' Upholds Our Tax Pledge ^ | December 19, 2012 | Guy Benson

Posted on 12/19/2012 9:19:16 PM PST by Kaslin

Despite Democrats' intransigent, no-way-no-how screeching about John Boehner's "Plan B," House Republican leaders are pressing forward with the option behind the scenes.  Those efforts received an important boost today when Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform released a statement affirming that the potential plan would not violate the group's oft-cited tax pledge:

ATR has consistently maintained that individual Members of Congress make a pledge to their constituents to oppose and vote against tax increases. The House this week will vote on a tax bill. This legislation—popularly known as “Plan B”--permanently prevents a tax increase on families making less than $1 million per year. Republicans supporting this bill are this week affirming to their constituents in writing that this bill—the sole purpose of which is to prevent tax increases—is consistent with the pledge they made to them. In ATR’s analysis, it is extremely difficult—if not impossible—to fault these Republicans’ assertion. In particular, in this Congress the House has already voted twice to prevent any tax increases on any American. When viewed with this in mind, and considering this tax bill contains no tax increases of any kind—in fact, it permanently prevents them—matters become more clear. Having finally seen actual legislation in writing, ATR is now able to make its determination about a legislative proposal related to the fiscal cliff. ATR will not consider a vote for this measure a violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.  

ATR has hastened to clarify that this press release doesn't represent an endorsement of any piece of legislation, but it does provide cover for many conservative pledge-signers in the House.  Other conservative activist groups -- such as Heritage Action and the Club for Growth -- continue to adamantly oppose "Plan B."  I think it's far from ideal, but the Wall Street Journal's editors make a compelling case that a scaled-back option like this would probably end up being far preferable to any Obama-endorsed "deal" in the final analysis:

Mr. Boehner is certainly in a tough spot, with tax rates set to rise on January 1 if Congress fails to act. His fellow Republicans haven't helped by whining about their lack of "leverage" and publicly negotiating with themselves over the terms of their tax surrender. We think they have more leverage than they believe if they are willing to fight on taxes into next year. But if they're not, at least they shouldn't associate themselves with a deal that increases spending and taxes with little or nothing tangible in return. Let Mr. Obama own the tax increase and its measly 7.5% annual reduction in a $1.1 trillion deficit. Let the sequester take effect as planned, which at least means some spending restraint. Then engage Mr. Obama next year in trench warfare over spending and the debt limit as voters figure out that soaking the rich doesn't begin to solve the problem. A bad budget deal is worse than no deal at all.

Indeed.  A House leadership aide emails to inform me that "Plan B" does, in fact, make the middle class tax rates permanent, which lends this contingency plan some added appeal.  Here's the Boehner/Cantor pitch:

Here's what the House “Plan B” bill does – and doesn’t – do. According to the House Ways & Means Committee, the House Plan B bill: 

-- Does not raise taxes. It is a net tax cut that prevents a $4.6 trillion tax hike on January 1
-- Permanently extends income tax rate cuts for Americans making less than $1 million; 99.81% of all taxpayers
-- Permanently extends the current estate and gift tax ($5 million at 35 percent and indexed for inflation) 
-- Permanently extends section 179 expensing for small businesses ($250,000 and indexed for inflation)
-- Permanently stops the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) from hitting more middle class families
-- Permanently extends parity for capital gains & dividend taxes; prevents dividend taxes from being taxed at highest rates
-- and does not include anything on the debt limit or other non-tax policy items.

Remember, Speaker Boehner’s rule on the debt limit still applies: spending cuts must exceed any debt limit increase. With tax rates set to rise on everyone on January 1, it’s important to have “a backup plan that makes sure that as few American taxpayers are affected by this increase as possible,” said Speaker Boehner. That’s exactly what “Plan B” will do.  

Sound good, conservatives?  Meh.  Not exactly.  But it still may be less bad than the alternatives.  The aide frames things this way:  

[Plan B] may the best possible outcome absent a serious proposal from Obama. Permanent extension on 99.8% of rates, death tax, AMT, etc. If you take it in three different silos - taxes, spending, debt - this is as good as we'll get on taxes. Sequester still kicks in on spending (not ideal but a trillion in cuts remain) and we deal with debt when we approach limit.

In other words, Republicans would prevent the vast, vast majority of fiscal cliff tax hikes from kicking in, they'd make 99 percent of the lower rates permanent (not just an extension), they'd lock in the sequester's deeply imperfect but real spending cuts, and they'd gear up for another debt fight in 2012 (with "fair share" demagoguery mostly off the table).  The bad news is that they'd essentially be giving up on that very top bracket, which includes successful small businesses -- even though they wouldn't technically be signing on to a tax hike.  It's also an open question as to whether Democrats would ultimately relent and pass the bill.  If Republicans do end up passing plan B -- and if Boehner isn't very close to negotiating a much, much more attractive package -- it would be imperative for them to hold a big press conference and then leave town.  Final offer; your ballgame now, Democrats.  I quoted this earlier, but Allahpundit has the optics right:

Boehner could turn up the heat on O even further by dropping the threshold for new taxes from millionaires to households that earn more than $400,000 a year. That was the cut-off that Obama himself proposed yesterday, remember; he’d be giving O exactly what he asked for and then daring him to veto it or the Democrats to block it. He could even hold a splashy “you win” presser before skipping town for Christmas, denouncing the bill as a piece of crap that’ll hurt the economy but one which the House feels obliged to pass because it’s the only way to stop Obama from forcing the country over the cliff. If Democrats respond by refusing to take yes for an answer and blocking the bill, then the economic chaos when we fall off the cliff is entirely on them.  

Would Democrats have the stones to rebuff a fiscal cliff-averting bill that serves up their dream of tax hikes on "millionaires and billionaires" as the fiscal clock expires?  We may find out soon enough.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial; Government
KEYWORDS: boehner; conservtaxincrease; debtlimit; fiscalcliff; grovernorquist; houserepublicans; obamataxhike; planb
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1 posted on 12/19/2012 9:19:25 PM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

I agree with Grover. 99 beats the 1, but spending is the problem so nothing short of a govt shutdown is acceptable. We lose in all other scenarios. A shutdown shines light on lots of things and might help with a reality check.

2 posted on 12/19/2012 9:27:02 PM PST by chiller (Do not consume any NBCNews;MTPTodayNightlyNewsMorningJoeMSNBCBrianWilliams)
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To: Kaslin

If Bonehead’s sell out is something your tax group will support alone with your Moslem coddling, it is long past time for Conservatives to DISOWN you. I wipe the dust from my sandals and walk away. ATR is no more.

3 posted on 12/19/2012 9:29:06 PM PST by Waywardson (I did not vote for that pro-abortionist candidate!)
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To: chiller

I would not hold my breath waiting real spending cuts.
This country will collapse before any country saving cuts are made.
To many special interest groups unwilling to give up anything.
We borrow 46 cents out of every dollar we spend.
How long do u think that will hold up?

4 posted on 12/19/2012 9:33:51 PM PST by tennmountainman
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To: Kaslin

This might be the best way to turn the tables and lay the whole “fiscal cliff” at the feet of Ubama and the rest of the scumbags where it belongs. It’s not ideal by any stretch, but it may be the best we can do right now. The real fun will begin when the debt ceiling debate starts anyway.

5 posted on 12/19/2012 9:35:41 PM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: Kaslin

I agree!

I complained about him in the past (over this) but he is showing realism and common sense on this now.

He realizes that giving Dems more power and tax money helps none of us.

6 posted on 12/19/2012 9:39:53 PM PST by sickoflibs (Dems know how to win. Rs know how to whine.)
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To: Kaslin

Norquist has gone the way of all other GOP pundits/lobbyists/pols.

The time has come to SMASH the GOP - send it to the ash heap! The GOP has sandbagged genuine conservatives (Sarah, Sharon Angle, Christine O’Donnell, Todd Akin) and foisted upon us Romney, Brown, Lugar, McCain just to name a few.

The GOP’s “new faces” (Christie and Rubio) are as inept as the old crop.

7 posted on 12/19/2012 9:41:16 PM PST by Perkalong (GOP 2012 = Whigs 1856)
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To: Waywardson

Stop your bitching about Boehner. You know darn well it doesn’t matter to that arrogant pos occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, if every Republican in the House and Senate say no his tax and spending plan and 75 percent of the democrats agree with the Republicans. It’s either his way or the highway, and if he doesn’t get it then he forces it on us by EO. What does it matter to him that the House holds the purse string. By god he is the king and he better get what he wants, or else

8 posted on 12/19/2012 9:48:32 PM PST by Kaslin ( One Big Ass Mistake America (Make that Two))
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To: tennmountainman

we all know there will be no spending cuts

9 posted on 12/19/2012 9:49:08 PM PST by GeronL (
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To: Lancey Howard

I agree with you

10 posted on 12/19/2012 9:49:50 PM PST by Kaslin ( One Big Ass Mistake America (Make that Two))
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To: Perkalong

Grover needs to get his prayer rug out and leave for the east, take Boner with him.

11 posted on 12/19/2012 9:50:46 PM PST by acapesket
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To: Kaslin

Does not seem to matter to you either then. I guess that explains why the RINOs continue to win. With FRiends like you willing to go along with Keynesian spending, we are undone from within.

12 posted on 12/19/2012 10:40:38 PM PST by Waywardson (I did not vote for that pro-abortionist candidate!)
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To: Kaslin
(Article) House Republican leaders are pressing forward .....

Oh, yes, I've heard of that. The Persians practiced it. The Greeks called it proskynesis, ritual prostration, and considered it proof-positive that the Persians were a race of natural slaves. The Persians, however, thought it a privilege to be allowed to approach the Great King, King of Kings, and grovel-grovel, nose in the carpet and butts in the air.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

13 posted on 12/19/2012 11:20:08 PM PST by lentulusgracchus
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To: Kaslin
If Boehner can succeed in having tax rates hiked for only .2% of the population with NO estate tax changes, AMT reform, extending expensing for business, and NO DIVIDEND TAX HIKE, I say more power to him.

I can't believe the Dems will go for this...I think they're going to scramble to find a way to the larger deal complete with cuts. But good for Boehner for coming up with this plan which puts pressure on Obama FOR SURE!

14 posted on 12/19/2012 11:53:13 PM PST by what's up
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To: Kaslin
Better idea...

Why not pass a “Continuing Resolution?”

Same tax rates, same budget.

For six months.

The budget will not increase, which is actually a “reduction” in the political dictionary.

Total tax revenues are slowly going up because of a slowly improving economy.

As to the debt ceiling...

Offer Obama $500 billion for 6 months.

Pass it, go home.

Spend the next 6 months constructing a real plan.

Have negotiations led by an actual Conservative who understands the principles as well as he understands the numbers.

No deal from Obama?

Offer another 6 months.

Pass it, go home, try again.

15 posted on 12/20/2012 12:09:13 AM PST by zeestephen
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To: Waywardson

When the collapse comes and it is coming these Rinos will be Dumpster
Diving with the rest of us.

16 posted on 12/20/2012 12:14:49 AM PST by tennmountainman
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To: Kaslin

Or else what??

I wana see the or else.

Obama is a hot air machine.

Bonehead better wise up, spending and taxation start in the house.

Pass tax cuts for the bottom 3 brackets, set the top two at current rates for ever and go home.

Obama is not going to sign on to ANYTHING the republicans come up with. Obama gets what he wants by doing nothing and that is exactly what he is going to do.

So, republicans can give up one of the few things that makes them different than democrats by giving in on tax hikes, or stand firm, offer up a bill, throw it in Reid’s lap and leave.

So far all Boehner has done is compromise with himself.

17 posted on 12/20/2012 12:34:23 AM PST by cableguymn (The founding fathers would be shooting by now..)
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To: cableguymn

Bonehead has been negotiating with himself all along. When he finally goes low enough for Zer0 to agree, Bonehead will tell us it was the best deal he could get. He’s a LOSER. We need someone who will stand by conservative principles not a GOP-e deal maker.

18 posted on 12/20/2012 2:35:54 AM PST by Buddy Sorrell ( Boehner, our Vichy Speaker)
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To: Kaslin

This whole thing is a red herring. The U.S. went flying off the “fiscal cliff” years ago. Total revenues will soon not cover spending on entitlements and interest on the national debt. And that leaves nothing for the rest of the so-called discretionary budget. Which includes “minor details” like defense.

It’s the entitlements, stupid. And neither wing of the uniparty will seriously address reducing them.

The deficits are being monetized and will be until such time as that can no longer be done.

19 posted on 12/20/2012 3:25:29 AM PST by RKBA Democrat (Getting in touch with my inner rebel)
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To: Perkalong

Good points....the GOP is a dead party...and anyone supporting the Boehner Tax Hike is not conservative. Too many praise Liberal RINOs like Christie and Rubio...while sandbagging better candidates

20 posted on 12/20/2012 4:48:58 AM PST by SeminoleCounty (Seems that the ones who understand little about the economy are economists)
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