GOP obstructionists put down their guard on Cliff war
A few dozen Republicans have joined a bipartisan call to break the impasse between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner over taxes for the highest- earning Americans.
The Republicans signed a letter calling for exploration of “all options” on taxes and entitlement programs, a signal that some rank-and-file members are ready to bargain.
One of the petition leaders, Representative Mike Simpson of Idaho, says he could accept higher rates for married couples earning more than $500,000 a year, in exchange for an overhaul of spending on entitlements such as Medicare.
Separately, Representative Kay Granger of Texas is endorsing Oklahoma Republican Tom Cole’s call to extend all tax cuts for middle-class earners as “just the right thing to do.”
What unifies these lawmakers is a recognition that Obama’s re-election has strengthened his hand in negotiations aimed at averting more than $600 billion in automatic tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect in January. The letter’s approximately 80 signers are half-Republican, half-Democratic, according to Simpson spokeswoman Nikki Watts.
“It’s pretty obvious Obama won the election, and he promised he was going to raise taxes on the wealthiest,” Simpson said in an interview. “What Republicans said is, ‘We’ve got to have entitlement reform.’”
While it may be an unpalatable trade for both sides, he said, “There’s enough sane people left to get it done.”