In a Sunday morning appearance on ABC’s This Week, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) declared that he would violate Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge in order to strike a deal to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff.”
While Graham reiterated that he is against raising tax rates, he also said, “When you’re $16 trillion in debt, the only pledge we should be making to each other is to avoid becoming Greece, and Republicans — Republicans should put revenue on the table.”
He then declared that “I will violate the pledge…for the good of the country,” but qualified that he would vote to increase taxes “only if Democrats will do entitlement reform.”
Instead of raising tax rates, Graham proposes increasing tax revenue by limiting the use of deductions for things such as charitable giving and mortgage interest — a proposal that is unlikely to gain much traction with President Barack Obama and Graham’s Democratic colleagues in the Senate.
Video of Graham’s appearance is below; his comments on the fiscal cliff begin at the 3:00 mark:
Graham joins Georgia senator Saxby Chambliss as the second Republican senator this week to disavow Norquist’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge.” While their newfound flexibility on the issue may help the Senate reach a bipartisan debt deal, it also exposes the senators to potential primary challenges from the right in their upcoming re-election campaigns.