Even as President Obama offers up trillions of dollars in cuts and reforms, Republican intransigence has prevented the two sides from reaching a deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling and stave off a credit default. The threat of a downgrade to the United States’ credit rating has not yet been enough to force a compromise from GOPers, who have thus far been unwilling to see any revenue increases in a debt ceiling deal.
There is no better example of this stubbornness than by Rep. Steve King (R-IA). ThinkProgress spoke with King following a House GOP Caucus meeting this morning. We asked the Iowa Republican, a persistent critic of the president’s policies, whether he could accept a debt ceiling deal that included $3 trillion in cuts and just $8 in revenue increases. King stood firm, telling ThinkProgress, “I’m not for raising taxes”:
KEYES: Obviously any type of deal is very fluid at this point, but in terms of what you would be willing to accept and vote for. For instance, say there were $3 trillion in cuts and just $8 in revenue increases, do you think that’s something you yourself could be supporting? […]
KING: I’m not for raising taxes. I won’t support anything that raises taxes. Revenue increases are a euphemism for raising taxes. Closing loopholes, one person’s loophole is the other one’s legitimate business expense. And tax deduction or tax credit as the case may be. That doesn’t get to the root of the problem. Let’s send a constitutional amendment to the states for ratification and then start talking business.
The absurdity of King’s position — revenue increases are so heretical that he cannot accept a deal that would include a 375,000,000,000:1 ratio of spending cuts to tax increases — is topped only by the fact that many House Republicans likely share his belief in refusing to raise any additional revenue. Indeed, nearly every single Republican in Congress has signed Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge.
However, King’s refusal to budge on even $8 in revenue increases epitomizes just how unwilling Republicans have been to compromise. Even 74 percent of Republicans told Gallup that deficit reduction should include tax increases as well spending cuts, but for King and other House Republicans, it’s more important to pander to the fringe right than the majority of voters.
Cartoonist Clay Bennett perfectly captured the state of negotiations: