The most influential conservative advocacy group on taxes — Grover Norquist’s Americans For Tax Reform — said in a statement today that it does not consider John Boehner’s “Plan B” a tax increase.It’s significant for Republican lawmakers deciding whether to support Boehner’s bill, as all but six House Republicans and seven GOP senators have signed Norquist’s pledge to oppose any effort to increase taxes.
The plan, which Boehner intends to bring to the House floor for a vote, would see taxes revert to higher rates on those making $1 million per year or more, while permanently preserving the cuts for those making less. ATR’s apparent shift could give Boehner some cover.
Here’s ATR’s full statement and reasoning:
ATR has consistently maintained that individual Members of Congress make a pledge to their constituents to oppose and vote against tax increases. The House this week will vote on a tax bill. This legislation—popularly known as “Plan B”–permanently prevents a tax increase on families making less than $1 million per year. Republicans supporting this bill are this week affirming to their constituents in writing that this bill—the sole purpose of which is to prevent tax increases—is consistent with the pledge they made to them. In ATR’s analysis, it is extremely difficult—if not impossible—to fault these Republicans’ assertion.
In particular, in this Congress the House has already voted twice to prevent any tax increases on any American. When viewed with this in mind, and considering this tax bill contains no tax increases of any kind—in fact, it permanently prevents them—matters become more clear. Having finally seen actual legislation in writing, ATR is now able to make its determination about a legislative proposal related to the fiscal cliff. ATR will not consider a vote for this measure a violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.
Boehner’s office seized on the statement and the potential clout it could give the Speaker’s plan, blasting it out to reporters this afternoon.