As talks surrounding raising the debt ceiling grow all the more heated, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) broke away from Republican orthodoxy yesterday when he told ABC news that the GOP needs to “reevaluate” its approach to the negotiations by agreeing to a mixture of spending cuts and revenue increases (via closing tax loopholes) as a means of reducing the deficit:
GRAHAM: The middle ground for me is to close tax loopholes, like ethanol. We give money away to a few people at the expense of the many, so why don’t we close some of these loopholes and bring the money back into the Treasury?
ABC: Including oil and gas?
GRAHAM: Anything, everything. [...]
ABC: Private jets?
GRAHAM: The whole deal. [...]
ABC: Bottom line, does the debt ceiling get raised by August 2?
Graham: I don’t know, right now I’m very worried. [...] Our guys are saying we’re not going to generate any new revenue. They’re saying we’re not going to do it without new revenue. Well, somebody’s got to blink here. The middle ground for me would be to take the money you generate from closing loopholes and apply it to the deficit.
Graham’s plea for a shared sacrifice to close the deficit comes at time when the GOP leadership is particularly unified against any revenue increases — including closing corporate loopholes. At least 19 different polls show the American public supports revenue increases as part of the strategy to reduce the deficit.
In fact, just one in five Americans want the deficit to be reduced entirely through spending cuts. And it turns out that voters prefer that these revenue increases come from millionaires, who currently pay record-low taxes.
Despite Graham’s willingness to break away from his party’s platform, he is not optimistic about a compromise on the debt ceiling. “Right now, I’m very worried,” Graham said. When asked directly if he thought a compromise would be reached, he said, “If I were a betting man, I’d bet no.”
Check out our special coverage of the Debt Ceiling Showdown.