Well, so much for that.
Grover Norquist has walked back his claim to the Washington Post that allowing Bush-era tax cuts to expire would not count as a tax increase, and now the Speaker of the House suggests Grover’s views are neither here nor there — he opposes letting even some of the Bush tax cuts to expire.
“I believe that would be raising taxes,” John Boehner (R-OH) told reporters at his weekly Capitol press briefing.
So that’s not going to happen. “I’ve never voted to raise taxes, and I don’t intend to,” Boehner said.
In an official statement, Grover echoed Boehner. “[Americans for Tax Reform] opposes all tax increases on the American people,” he said.
Any failure to extend or make permanent the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, in whole or in part, would clearly increase taxes on the American people. In addition, the failure to extend the AMT patch would increase taxes. The outlines of the plans are deliberately hazy, but it appears that both Obama’s Simpson-Bowles commission proposal and the Gang-of-Six proposal dramatically increase taxes on the American people.
It is a violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to trade temporary tax reductions for permanent tax hikes.
And this is precisely what you’d expect of course — the Republican party isn’t going to break with decades of orthodoxy because of a few blase statements to reporters. Which is why there was always reason to doubt the significance of Norquist op-ed. But that still leaves open the question of, well, how exactly we avoid a debt default?
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.