Norquist has Boehner’s back on spending bill plan

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The Americans for Tax Reform president, along with House Republican leaders, favors a continuing resolution that enshrines current sequestration cuts but does not try to cut spending more deeply. 

“That would be ... too ambitious,” Norquist said. 

He also opposes threats to shut down the government if the continuing resolution (CR) does not entirely defund ObamaCare.

He said that the threats distract from a winning argument against the unpopular health plan. 

The activist, who is in regular contact with House leaders, said he could see a continuing resolution that defunds ObamaCare pass the House initially, and that the House could then pass a CR without the provision when it comes back from the Senate. 

In the context of raising the debt ceiling, the GOP may be able to get some aspects of ObamaCare delayed, such as the individual mandate to purchase insurance, he said. 

“If you are going to negotiate with the president or the Senate you have to ask for reasonable things, things they can give you,” Norquist cautioned. He said Obama would likely sooner give up his own liver than defund his signature domestic policy achievement. 

Norquist cast some doubt on Treasury’s new October deadline for raising the debt ceiling. 

“Remember, we played this game before. They gave us several dates in 2011 ... the first ones were dishonest as opposed to inaccurate,” he said. 

He said he can see the GOP attaching new transparency provisions to any debt-ceiling increase.

“I think that one of the things Republicans will insist on as part of a debt-ceiling bill will be transparency on the question of how much money do you have in what bank accounts and what assets you have in terms of your ability to actually hit the debt ceiling,” he said.

During a wide-ranging sit down with The Hill, Norquist also advised that the House GOP should refrain from passing a full-scale tax reform package. He argued that it would make sense to lay down a broad marker, but said passing a bill that eliminates popular deductions could cost GOP candidates in 2014.

Norquist said he sees little chance that tax reform can be passed as long as Obama is president, given the administration’s demand for large revenue increases. 

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) is gearing up to write a tax reform bill this fall. 

Norquist said he is urging for an outline that includes three pillars: rate reduction on the individual and corporate side, a territorial tax system that exempts foreign income, and a conversion to immediate full expensing for capital investment.