Top GOP Senator Concedes That Republicans Will Support Higher Taxes In Fiscal Cliff Deal

Sen. John Thune (R-SD)

A prominent Republican senator admitted on Thursday that President Obama and the Democrats will likely convince enough Republicans to vote for a deficit reduction plan that increases taxes in order to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. Republicans have publicly resisted supporting raising tax rates, but have promised to support higher revenues by closing loopholes and eliminating tax deductions so long as those changes are paired with spending cuts.

During an appearance on Fox News on Thursday, Sen. John Thune (R-SD), the Republican Conference Chairman, said that while he wouldn’t personally support a measure that raises taxes, “there may be enough Republicans who would vote for something like that”:

MARTHA MAcCALLUM (HOST): What I’m asking you is are Republicans willing to hold the line, to say to the President, I am sorry, we will never agree to a deal that involves an increase in taxes? Are they?

THUNE: I think any deal that passes up here that raises taxes and raises taxes as I mentioned earlier on small businesses, Martha, is not going to enjoy Republican support. Now, there may be enough Republicans who would vote for something like that to pass it in the House of Representatives, they need to get to 218 votes.

MAcCALLUM: Then it would be done, right?

THUNE: We’ll see about that. We don’t know what that. We don’t know what the contours of a final deal might look at this point. Everybody right now is sort of in their corners and doing the posturing.

Watch it:

A growing number of Republicans have rhetorically backed away from a pledge to never raise taxes, though it remains to be seen how many would support a measure that raises marginal rates on the richest Americans, as President Obama has proposed.

Politico reported today that the framework for a final deal would like include $1.2 trillion in tax revenue — including higher taxes on the top 2 percent of income earners — and reductions in entitlement spending.