Your daily jolt: Fiscal cliff talks begin – between Saxby Chambliss and Grover Norquist

Crucial negotiations over the fiscal cliff are finally underway in Washington. So far, they only include Republicans.

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss told my AJC colleague Daniel Malloy that he and anti-tax maven Grover Norquist had a long chat on Monday and that they are still buddies, despite continuing differences over what constitutes a tax hike.

“Grover and I are friends, and as we said we were friends before last weekend and we’re going to be friends after my comments because he understands we have a disagreement on this issue of what you do with revenue generated from the elimination of loopholes and tax credits,” Chambliss said this morning. “We’re going to continue to dialogue with him, and if we have issues we’ll work through them. We had a very good conversation.”

At issue is Norquist’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which has been signed by Chambliss and nearly every Republican in Congress, promising not to increase tax revenue to the federal government through increased rates or erased deductions. Last week, Chambliss – who has spent the last two years working on a bipartisan debt deal involving spending cuts, entitlement reform and tax revenue – helped renew the debate.

“I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge,” he told a Macon television station.

Chambliss said he was encouraged by Senate colleagues such as South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham and Tennessee’s Bob Corker, who have declared they are willing to discount the Norquist pledge.

He also said that, since the Senate returned from its Thanksgiving break Monday afternoon, he has had plenty more private encouragement.

Georgia’s senior senator remains staunchly against raising income tax rates, as do his colleagues. But there has been a noticeable shift in the GOP’s willingness to add to federal coffers by reducing deductions.

“I can only look at the public comments of some of my colleagues,” Chambliss said. “I think clearly there is an evolving sentiment. We weren’t $17 trillion in debt 20 years ago when I signed that pledge. We’ve got to figure out the right way to get out of debt.”

Last night on CNN, Norquist referred to U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., as a “weasel” for suggesting the Americans for Tax Reform pledge is no longer binding. But Chambliss escaped largely unscathed:

Likewise, before talking with the AJC this morning, Chambliss was on WTKS in Savannah with talk radio host Bill Edwards. The senator avoided any mention of Norquist:

Edwards: Please tell me that you’re not going back on that pledge, ‘cause Lindsey Graham was indicating that he might – he said for the good of the country. …To me, capitulating with the Democrats is like chickens capitulating with Colonel Sanders.

Chambliss: Well, I can tell you that neither Lindsey nor I have ever been in the business – nor have either one of us ever voted for increasing taxes. And we’re not going to. But what both of have said is that our country is in trouble. There is no silver bullet to solve our fiscal issue long-term. We’ve got to continue to cut federal spending. We’re still spending way too much money in Washington….

We’ve got to reform entitlements. When you cut spending and reform entitlements, then we’re willing to put revenues on the table, to try to make sure that it’s a three-pronged approach. Putting revenues on the table is not raising taxes. There are lots of ways we can raise revenue and not raise taxes. Lindsey has this idea of capping deductions, and that’s one way to do it…

The president has come out and backed himself into a corner and said we’ve got to raise rates on the rich. That’s his answer, because that’s a populist position. I’m not in favor of raising rates on anybody. Never have voted for a rate increase and have no intention of doing so.

Erick Erickson of Redstate.com this morning has a disparaging column on Chambliss — whom he once supported. The closing line:

A conservative from metro-Atlanta could put Saxby Chambliss in peril and we should work to make that happen.

Erickson, it should be noted, was a major supporter of Karen Handel in the 2010 GOP race for governor.

***
GOP strategist Ralph Reed says a shift in tone may be more important than a shift in substance when it comes to reviving the Republican brand. From USA Today:

Reed said that in the short term, his [Faith and Freedom Coalition] is in discussion with congressional leaders about protecting tax deductions for charitable donations. Long term, Reed said, before “marketing and messaging and technology” is retooled, Republicans and conservatives need to ask themselves, “What’s your agenda, where do you want to take the country?”

“Immigration is going to be a part of that – a softer pro-family agenda is part of that,” he said, meaning less of a focus on “sexuality” and more on issues such as “strengthening the family, improving education. You know, really being pro-family where people live.”

That does not mean changing positions on same-sex marriage, Reed said. He said Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage this year only helped him “on the margins” and motivated some conservatives against the president.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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48 comments Add your comment

mike

November 27th, 2012
10:15 am

So they need to lie bettef, hmmmm

red herring

November 27th, 2012
10:26 am

saxby is basically a blue dog democrat. not much republican about him. he went along with every spending program bush wanted. both parties are guilty of spending way too much and of wasteful spending. we need more people like rand paul, marco rubio, jim demint that want to cut spending more than they want to raise taxes. our congress and our voters need to realize that the USA isn’t broke financially—they are way past that— 16 trillion in debt now and will be 20 by the time obama’s 2nd term is up. spending should be cut a minimum of 3 to 1 over tax increases. any tax increase should go towards balancing our budget not new spending as obama is wanting. many congressional democrats are already salivating over how to spend the money rather than decreasing the debt.

bruce Pyle

November 27th, 2012
10:51 am

these guys would sell there own mother out

td

November 27th, 2012
11:04 am

No tax increases unless the law especially says the money will be used to pay off debt and not until actual spending (not decreases in projected future spending) is cut for at least one year.

Marlboro Man

November 27th, 2012
11:10 am

Rates will increase, Norquist is elected by nobody he is just a mouthpiece without a real job.

Fezz

November 27th, 2012
11:13 am

These people must be dotes to let another man have them sign a pledge. What is he, their god or something? Aren’t they responsible firstly to their constituents?

honested

November 27th, 2012
11:17 am

republican tax policy (beginning in 2001) has been an absolute failure.

No massive influx of capital nor overwhelming growth (as predicted) occurred or is ever likely to occur.

There is a job to be done and it does not include pretending any longer.

Allow the failed tax cuts to expire and the sequestration to begin.

Otherwise, the hostage takers unable to accept the decade long disaster of unfunded government coupled with unfunded war will insist on continuing their failure.

DJ Sniper

November 27th, 2012
11:18 am

Grover Norquist needs to go have a seat in the corner and never be heard from again. If anybody is hampering the recovery of this country, it’s morons like him.

td

November 27th, 2012
11:30 am

DJ Sniper

November 27th, 2012
11:18 am

How is raising taxes going to make our economy recover? What is going to happen when these new “revenues” are taken out of the economy and given to the government? How many jobs is this going to produce?

td

November 27th, 2012
11:34 am

honested

November 27th, 2012
11:17 am

“republican tax policy (beginning in 2001) has been an absolute failure.”

Now please explain to everyone how the Republicans have been able to have any tax policy since 2011 when they only control one chamber in Congress and do not control the White House?

Kris

November 27th, 2012
11:51 am

Why is sax wasting his hot air on grover (non elected self appointed dictator).

Sax needs to doing the will of the people that elected his worthless A$$.

The GOP caused this mess and they damn well better fix it.

Recall Saxby.

nathan's political arsonist

November 27th, 2012
11:54 am

saxby, grover, ralph reed, erick erickson – fringe poltical fanatics at best

Shine

November 27th, 2012
11:57 am

Republicans lost the election. Bring back the top tax brackets and more taxes on capital gains just like the president campaigned on. The GOP needs to get over itself and stop being a sore whining loser.

Old South

November 27th, 2012
11:58 am

Chambliss, Norqist, these idiots aren’t economists. As we all know, politicians are often life’s losers who couldn’t hold a job at the local 7-11. That’s why many of them go in, as an easy way to make a lot of money,

Debt, deficits, are matters way beyond the entry level knowledge of a Georgia senator or his crooked friends. They should stick to what the know, the illusion of power among a country in demographic transition, aka whites are not the future of America anymore.

nathan's political arsonist

November 27th, 2012
11:59 am

How is raising taxes going to make our economy recover? What is going to happen when these new “revenues” are taken out of the economy and given to the government? How many jobs is this going to produce?

td- give the GOP math a rest buddy, its proven to be totally fraudulent

CC

November 27th, 2012
12:02 pm

“To me, capitulating with the Democrats is like chickens capitulating with Colonel Sanders.”

Truer words have never been uttered!

IF there is to be a tax increase, the increased revenue should be used to pay down the national debt, not to support giveaway programs at their current level, more Obama phones or to buy Sandra Fluke’s birth control pills. IF tax increases are passed, such increases should be accompanied by an equal amount of REDUCTION IN SPENDING by the federal government.

STOP THE DEFICIT SPENDING . . . NOW!

td

November 27th, 2012
12:05 pm

Kris

November 27th, 2012
11:51 am

“The GOP caused this mess and they damn well better fix it.”

Not meant to be a factual statement. In addition: If you think government is the answer then you are delusional.

“Why is sax wasting his hot air on grover (non elected self appointed dictator).”

Grover did not do anything that the Conservative voters of this state and nation did not want him to do and that is to hold our elected leaders accountable for the promises they made.

“Sax needs to doing the will of the people that elected his worthless A$$.”

As lon as he does not raise taxes he is doing what the people that elected him want him to do.

“The GOP caused this mess and they damn well better fix it.”

Again not meant to be a factual statement

nathan's political arsonist

November 27th, 2012
12:06 pm

increase income tax rates for those making over $250,000, tax churches that insist on political involvement, raise the ceiling for social security taxes from current $110,000 to $500,000, keep deductions for true charities and first home mortgage interest for the middle class

td

November 27th, 2012
12:10 pm

Shine

November 27th, 2012
11:57 am

Republicans lost the election. Bring back the top tax brackets and more taxes on capital gains just like the president campaigned on. The GOP needs to get over itself and stop being a sore whining loser.

Did they really lose the election or did they lose the race for the President? If the voters wanted Obama’s and the Dem policies to be implemented then they would have voted out all the Republican Congressmen in states like Ohio, Florida, VA, and PA since Obama won those states. Why did not the American people do this?

nathan's political arsonist

November 27th, 2012
12:10 pm

Support Better Georgia !! November 4, 2014 – unelect the old white dude crooks and bible thumpers

td

November 27th, 2012
12:14 pm

nathan’s political arsonist

November 27th, 2012
11:59 am

How is raising taxes going to make our economy recover? What is going to happen when these new “revenues” are taken out of the economy and given to the government? How many jobs is this going to produce?

td- give the GOP math a rest buddy, its proven to be totally fraudulent

And you can show us how many social Democratic countries are a better solution?

nathan's political arsonist

November 27th, 2012
12:14 pm

Why did not the American people do this?

td, thought you were somewhat politically astute dude. congressional district gerrymandering. google it and learn something. focksnooze won’t talk about such facts..it too shall end with the reign of old white man monopoly

Ox Baker

November 27th, 2012
12:18 pm

Senator Clark Howard – Georgia’s next Republican Senator. So long Saxby and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

td

November 27th, 2012
12:20 pm

nathan’s political arsonist

November 27th, 2012
12:14 pm

Really? If you bothered to do a little research then you would know that there were 4 Republican Congressional districts in PA that voted for Obama but put the Republican back in office. 3 in FL, 1 in NC, 2 in Ohio and 3 in FL.

See you would rather play stupid games and be a smart a$$ instead of doing a little research.

DJ Sniper

November 27th, 2012
12:32 pm

I see CC is checking in from Angrywhitemanistan today. Please stop regurgitating that nonsense that you hear on wrong wing talk radio. And here’s a litle FYI: governing requires working with your opponent, not picking up your ball and going home like a spoiled child.

Pizzaman

November 27th, 2012
12:42 pm

Signing any pledge to an individual is a violation of their oath of office and makes them impeachable. Let the proceedings begin.

MoFaux

November 27th, 2012
12:42 pm

Republicans still can’t bring themselves to decrease our defense spending, even a little. Why is this such a sacred cow to them? I would love someone to explain this. Why must we spend more than the next 10 countries combined on defense? I just don’t get it. They want to cut everyone except defense. Isn’t this somewhere around 20% of our entire budget? Imagine what savings we could incur if we reduced this by say 30%. Let’s end the imperialism please.

WAW

November 27th, 2012
12:48 pm

Grover turned the screws and Saxby changes his tune. The PLEDGE! The PLEDGE!

A name, any name with a (D) after it will replace a name, any name with a (R) after it in 2014. Because after the January 1 Republican Tax Hick, the Un-Repenting Republicans are going to learn what they didn’t learn on Nov. 6th. The American People (for whom they claim to speak) has had enough of the House of Representatives screwing this country.

Kris

November 27th, 2012
12:49 pm

Pizzaman
12:42 pm
Signing any pledge to an individual is a violation of their oath of office and makes them impeachable. Let the proceedings begin.

Pizzaman, hello yes lets clean house.

Grounds or recall in Georgia: Act of malfeasance or misconduct while in office; violation of oath of office; failure to perform duties prescribed by law; willfully misused, converted, or misappropriated, without authority, public property or public funds entrusted to or associated with the elective office to which the official has been elected or appointed. Discretionary performance of a lawful act or a prescribed duty shall not constitute a ground for recall of an elected public official. (Ga. Code §21-4-3(7) and 21-4-4(c))
Do not forget Shady Dealer….

honested

November 27th, 2012
1:24 pm

Can we just admit the shrub tax cut experiment failed miserably?

Then can we return to proven economic policies, whether it negatively impacts the home-car-elevator companies a little or not?

911

November 27th, 2012
1:26 pm

Saxby’s friends and supporters are working the emails night and day in an attempt to paint the senator as a conservative when he’s never been anything but a Zell Miller democrat. Go ahead Chambliss. We know what you really are. Switch to the Obama camp and maybe you can save your other side.

Shine

November 27th, 2012
1:40 pm

TD, could be redistricting is why Dems didnt take contriol of the House. Democrats certainly got more votes nationwide for Congressional seats than did Republicans. Won the presidency, won even more Senate seats and got more votes for congressional races…that’s called a mandate or are you the delusional one?

Shine

November 27th, 2012
1:43 pm

Save Ga in 2014!!! Boot some more kooks…vote democrat!!

Shine

November 27th, 2012
1:43 pm

Save Ga in 2014!!! Boot some more kooks…vote democrat!!

Tired of Saxby

November 27th, 2012
1:43 pm

Why some call a loophole is in reality a legal exception in the tax code and removing a loophole is the exact equivalent of raising taxes. Washington speak will not save Saxby’s political xss. If you remove a “loophole” you are raiding someone’s taxes. Taxes do not need to be raised one penny. If you want to stimulate the economy, cut the taxes of business owners and job creators and cut spending on entitlements. Anything less than that and their is no real solution to our nations debt and economic woes. Tom Price or Karen Handel will trounce Saxby if he raises taxes. Oh, I mean cut loopholes!

Shine

November 27th, 2012
1:45 pm

Yes, please let it be that Roy Barnes clone flag changer Tom Price that gets the nomonation. Please send him to us in south Ga.

Ed's Neighbor

November 27th, 2012
1:49 pm

I say let’s raise taxes on all Mazda cars and parts & labor. Ed is rich and he can afford it.

Old South

November 27th, 2012
1:50 pm

To be clear, the Democrats are no better. They only look good now because the conservatives are basically a bunch of nuts who’d find a better societal fit feudal Old Europe.

To bad the tea party is full of whack jobs too. There are few places for the American people to find any quality politics. And it’s because losers and large moneyed interests own the process start to finish.

WAW

November 27th, 2012
2:18 pm

Shine: You insult Roy Barnes! The county of origin is the only thing common. Roy is a gentleman even if you don’t like his politics. Price on the other hand ? (not for general audiences).

honested

November 27th, 2012
2:30 pm

WAW

I guess somebody has to be the unabashed apologist for the health insurance industry.

jezebel

November 27th, 2012
2:32 pm

saxby and grover. and i thought black people give their offspring strange names.

Shine

November 27th, 2012
2:40 pm

Roy Barnes insults himself and us all by destroying the democratic party in this state for likely another 10 -20 years by listening to out of state and Atlanta based whiners and a bunch of deadbeat corps over our state flag.. I have zero respect for his sorry behind.

WAW

November 27th, 2012
2:49 pm

Shine: Obviously I place Price even lower on the Respect Scale.

CC

November 27th, 2012
3:08 pm

MoFaux@12:42 pm:

“Republicans still can’t bring themselves to decrease our defense spending, even a little. Why is this such a sacred cow to them? I would love someone to explain this.”

I’ll be happy to oblige. Providing for the national defense is one of the very FEW responsibilitis of the federal government under the Constitution. We can totally eliminate those functions the federal government has NO authority for, such as welfare, section 8 housing, all subsidies, government grants and loans, etc. and lower taxes while maintaining our national defense and paying off the national debt.

DJ Sniper

November 27th, 2012
3:13 pm

Tired, there’s plenty of proof that tax cuts do nothing to stimulate the economy, but keep on believing that if it makes you feel better.

I swear the GOP is headed the way of the dodo bird, and it can’t come fast enough.

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midnight garden

November 28th, 2012
8:35 am

tax cuts to the rich don’t produce jobs.It was just proven over the Bush presidency. When will people get that in their head? Tax cuts for people who are lower income are more effective. They have to spend the increases in their cash to live which has a bigger mulltiplier effect and it helps everyone. Also, Keynsian economics (the stimulus)kept us out of a severe depression. It was timely, targeted and temporary.