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Congressional Republicans break pledge against opposing tax increases

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 26th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Congressional Republicans have reluctantly said they will be temporarily breaking their pledges against tax increases in order to deal with the nation's looming fiscal crisis. Lawmakers have been forced to reconsider their positions due to a deal that can only be reached after changes from the tax code.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Signed by 238 House members and 41 senators in this Congress, the lengthy pledge from the Americans for Tax Reform group has become inescapable for any Republican seeking statewide or national office over recent election cycles, particularly in the Republican-controlled lower chamber.

New York Rep. Peter King and Sen. Lindsey Graham said this past weekend they would break the pledge and accept tax changes to generate more revenue to curb the trillion-dollar federal deficit, agreeing with an earlier statement made by Georgia Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss last week.

"I agree entirely with Saxby Chambliss," King said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "A pledge you signed 20 years ago, 18 years ago, is for that Congress. .  The world has changed, and the economic situation is different."

King said he was opposed to tax increases but that "everything should be on the table" when President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid try to reach an agreement.

"I'm not going to prejudge it, and I'm just saying we should not be taking ironclad positions," King added. "I have faith that John Boehner can put together a good package."

A $500 billion mix of federal cuts and unrelated tax increases would kick in January 2 if Congress and the White House fail to reach an agreement. If lawmakers fail to reach a more measured approach to cutting the deficit, the country could go over the so-called "fiscal cliff."

The across-the-board cuts to the federal budget would equal more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years.

Graham has suggested earlier that he would be open to changes in taxes. "I will violate the pledge, long story short, for the good of the country, only if Democrats will do entitlement reform," Graham said on ABC's "This Week."

He also said the only pledge that should be made when the country is trillions in debt is to "avoid becoming Greece."

"Republicans should put revenue on the table," he continued. "We don't generate enough revenue."

Indiana Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin also on the same program said that his party needs to "bring entitlement reform into the conversation."

He included Medicare and Medicaid but argued Social Security should be kept off the table because it is a separately-funded operation that doesn't add to the deficit.

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