Norquist rebuts Coburn, says he 'stands alone' on taxes

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He said that Coburn lied when he stated in the Times piece that all but six of the 41 Senate Republicans violated the pledge when they supported an amendment ending an ethanol tax break last year that did not have a corresponding tax reduction. 

Norquist said that senators had voted for it under the assumption it was tied to another bill, offered by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), that would have ended the estate tax. 

He said that Coburn is also being misleading when he says House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was willing to raise revenue in failed grand bargain talks with President Obama last year. That revenue was solely from tax rate reductions spurring growth, Norquist said.

The lobbyist said that Coburn last year had assured him publicly that he supports only growth-induced revenue increases and cited a letter in which Coburn and fellow Gang of Six deficit negotiators Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) said they would work with him “to support a proposal where any increase in revenue generation will be the result of the pro-growth effects of lower individual and corporate tax rates for all Americans.”

Norquist said that Coburn since that time appears to have “gone native or developed Stockholm Syndrome” from spending too much time with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) in Gang of Six meetings.

He said the example of a deficit grand bargain with entitlement reforms in exchange for a “penny” in tax increases is a “bizarre straw man” that does not exist. Instead, Democrats are seeking trillions in tax increases that must be resisted, he said.

Norquist said he is not nervous about losing his fight against tax increases. He confidently predicted the GOP will take the Senate and White House and enact Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) budget, which slashes $5 trillion in spending and reforms Medicare and the tax code without raising taxes.

— This story was updated on June 17 to clarify a remark from Norquist.

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