Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) President Grover Norquist appeared on David Webb’s Sirius XM radio show on Friday and said that the fiscal cliff deal that Democrats and many Republicans voted for was a tax hike that nobody actually voted for.
Sirius XM Radio’s David Webb’s said to Norquist, “Why is Americans for Tax Reform, your group, touting the fiscal cliff deal as a tax cut given the pledge many members took and quoting you on January 2nd as saying, ‘Bush tax cuts lapsed at midnight last night. Every R voting for Senate Bill is cutting taxes and keeping his/ her pledge’—Did we really get a tax cut?” Norquist responded:
“No. What happened, of course is that we had an unusual and unprecedented never to be repeated situation where it was the perfect storm of three tax cuts all lapsing at the same time. The alternative minimum tax patch ended on January 1st. The 2001 Bush tax cut ended on January 1st and the 2003 tax cut all ended on January 1st of this year. So that was actually a $500 billion tax increase—automatic,” he said.
Norquist added, “Nobody voted for it. It just happened, because we allowed all the others to lapse. And the reason they lapsed is because the Democrats had enough votes in the Senate to not allow the tax cuts to be made permanent. Obviously, the Republicans who voted for those tax cuts wanted them permanent. The goal was to make them permanent. They’d been extended a few times but always temporarily. And what happened was that they were made temporary and died on the early morning of January 1st.”
A majority of Republican lawmakers have signed the ATR anti-tax pledge, an oath an individual signs to one’s constituent’s to oppose tax hikes, and arguments have erupted over the years between signers and Norquist as to what constitutes a tax hike what does not.
Certain GOP members referred to Norquist’s statements regarding the fiscal cliff deal, when he said on CNN:
It’s technically not a violation of the pledge, but I understand why a lot of Republicans had said, look, even though what’s happening is the tax cuts disappear and we’re restoring them for most people — so we’re not raising taxes. We’re actually cutting taxes.