Many House Republicans are openly worried that if Barack Obama is reelected, he will push through higher taxes by blocking any suggestions from the House.
Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) said, “I think that is inevitable. If he is reelected, taxes will go up, and regulations will increase. He will veto anything that we send him.” Obama has vowed to refuse extending all the Bush-era tax rates, although he did extend them during the 2010 lame-duck session of Congress.
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), a senior member of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, succinctly summarized the issue:
It is a referendum, clearly, on the choice between: is the problem that Washington spends too much, or does it take too little of people’s income? From that standpoint, it is a referendum on higher taxes. If the president’s reelected, he’s going to dig in his heels for those higher taxes.
The issue at hand is the combination of tax increases and spending cuts which is popularly called the “fiscal cliff.” Republicans don’t want to cut defense spending and national security, but the Democrats say unless there is a revenue increase from higher taxes, the cuts for defense and national security will be inevitable. Republicans are determined not to allow Obama to raise taxes on those making upwards of $250,000 a year, correctly seeing that those taxes will cripple small businesses. Most Republicans have signed a pledge from Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform promising not to increase taxes.
Of course, there is always John McCain, who has never championed principle over the need for media attention by collaborating with Democrats. He has made statements that smack of caving in on tax increases.
Norquist is sanguine about the future, however, confident that Obama won’t raise taxes: “This is not a country that is excited about looting other people or getting looted,” he said. And Andy Harris (R-Md) avers that no matter what happens, the GOP won’t capitulate: “The House is standing on the principle that Americans already pay enough taxes. An election’s not going to change that principle.”