Grover Norquist: Use debt ceiling to save Bush tax cuts

November 28, 2012

Grover Norquist is showing no sign of mellowing in his fight against tax increases. 

Some Republicans have expressed a willingness to raise revenue by closing loopholes or deductions -- and one has even suggested letting the Bush tax cuts for the affluent expire. But Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, argued Wednesday that Republicans are the ones with leverage because they can threaten to prevent increases in the debt ceiling. 

If President Obama doesn't extend all the Bush tax cuts, Norquist suggested at a Politico Playbook breakfast, Republicans should raise the debt ceiling "monthly if he's good, weekly if he's bad."

Norquist made the same point in an op-ed in The Hill, writing, "The debt ceiling that Obama’s plans bump into every month or so for the next four years provides plenty of 'leverage' for the GOP to trade for spending cuts — as done in 2011 — or continuing the lower rates."

As Wonkblog explains in this great fiscal cliff FAQ, a deal is likely to include a rise in the debt limit. But if there is no deal, a default, combined with the sequestration package, could cause an economic crisis at least as bad as 2008. The Bipartisan Policy Center estimates that the debt limit would have to be raised by between $730 billion and $1.25 trillion to avoid going over the debt ceiling for all of 2013. Most analysts think the next debt-ceiling increase will come due around February.

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Rachel Weiner | November 28, 2012