In his message, Norquist wrote that the senators would likely be violating pledges not to raise taxes by joining in such a deal and asserted that the lessons from past “grand budget deals” was that spending doesn’t come down after taxes are raised.
“I urge you to reject this so-called ‘deal’ which is little more than a transparent attempt to hike taxes and put off the spending restraint the country so clearly called for in the 2010 elections,” Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, told the senators.
The letter came shortly after The Wall Street Journal reported that a bipartisan group of six senators was working on a plan to reduce the deficit that would include tax reform, spending cuts and changes to entitlement programs Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The three Senate Democrats most linked with that discussion are Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate; Kent Conrad of North Dakota, the Budget Committee chairman; and Mark Warner of Virginia.
The president’s fiscal commission – which counted Coburn, Conrad, Crapo and Durbin as members – suggested using an overhaul of the tax code to help drive down the deficit. The Journal reported that, under the plan currently under discussion, congressional committees would have two years to write a tax reform plan and would be given revenue targets to hit.
Norquist testified before the deficit commission last year, pushing the message that spending and not taxes had caused the country’s budget woes. His group, meanwhile, ended up not being particularly impressed with the suggestions from the panel led by former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) and Erskine Bowles, a White House chief of staff in the Clinton administration.