Sen. Lindsey Graham: I'll Break Tax Pledge 'For Good of the Country'

Senior senator willing to go against traditional GOP orthodoxy to prevent 'fiscal cliff."

It was not that long ago that complying with the so-called "No-Tax Pledge" to Grover Norquist and Americans for Tax Reform was all but essential for any Republican who ran for office. In fact, last year, during the GOP presidential primaries all of the candidates refused to commit to even one dollar in tax hikes for ten dollars in spending cuts.

Now, at least three Republicans are willing to break the pledge and Sen. Lindsey Graham is one of them. Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Rep. Steve King of New York are the other two.

Apearing on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday morning, Graham said it's time to re-evluate the pledge to avoid sequestration and "the fiscal cliff." The Senator said he is not favor of raising tax rates, but in closing loopholes for the wealthy.

"When you're $16 trillion in debt, the only pledge we should be making to each other is to avoid becoming Greece, and Republicans -- Republicans should put revenue on the table," Graham said. "We're this far in debt. We don't generate enough revenue. Capping deductions will help generate revenue. Raising tax rates will hurt job creation.

"So I agree with Grover, we shouldn't raise rates. But, I think Grover is wrong when it comes to [saying] we can't cap deductions and buy down debt," Graham continued. "I want to buy down debt and cut rates to create jobs, but I will violate the pledge, long story short, for the good of the country, only if Democrats will do entitlement reform."

Graham said he would like to see the retirement age gradually raised and for means testing for Social Security benefits.

During his appearance, Graham also discussed the latest on the Benghazi investigation. He rejected Ambassador Susan Rice's claim that she was given the best intelligence available when she made her initial comments on the attack. Graham's full remarks can be viewed HERE.

While some might suggest that Graham's willingness to break the pledge is a response to the results of the election earlier this month or is being done to help his own re-election prospects in 2014, it's not new. While appearing at a press conference in Columbia to discuss sequestration in August, Graham talked about means testing and raising the retirement age.

So far, none of the other Republicans in South Carolina's Congressional delegation have expressed a willingness to break the "No-Tax Pledge."

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Ken November 25, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Could it be that the republicans are finally beginning to listen to the voters? Perhaps they fear that their jobs are on the line in the coming mid-term elections.
Edwin November 25, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Maybe if he had been more concerned with the debt 12 years ago, we wouldn't be seeing $16 Trillion in debt. He is one of the heads of congress that have been holding back jobs and progress, now he is re-thinking, yeah right.
Robert Kelly November 26, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Would these windup talking puppets please identify the "tax breaks" they are talking about! If the tax rates don't go up, there is no additional revenue unless we eliminate ... what? This is about as helpful as pledging to cut waste from the budget. If you know about waste, why haven't you already cut it? Graham, and the others, is just dancing around pretending to be serious about the problem, when in fact he has no interest in raising any revenue from the people who have it. Let's not tax money used to "create jobs", but let's tax the hell out of money going into offshore and European banking accounts. Let's tax the money which is made from financial buying/selling of financial tools at the same rate as people who make money actually working. These capital gains taxes are not on money which is "creating jobs", it is money that is simply creating money for the people who gamble on financial tools.
Jim Hargett November 26, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Senator Graham is choosing a different path from Senator Demint, Representatives Gowdy, Duncan and Mulvaney who will insist on "No more taxes". This reflects the 'sequestration expectations' of most in the upstate and Pee Dee. Does Graham anticipate our vote as he jumps across the isle so readily? Without governmental monetary austerity to reverse the hemoraging debt at state and federal level, can my grandkids really hope for a future? Do my kids and grandkids listen to me restraining my credit card if I don't cry over government overspending?
Ken November 26, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Graham's plan will do nothing but continue to screw the middle class, he wants the mortgage deduction and charitable deductions cut. This plan WILL NOT create any jobs and only shift more of the tax burden onto the middle class.
Shawn Drury November 26, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Ken, How do you feel about the entitlement reform Sen. Graham is calling for? -SD
Henry F. Watkins,Sr November 26, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Frank Watkins , Sr. Do away with electorial votes and let the people reflect who they want in office.go with the " popular vote " . We only need two congressmen , two senators, and two for the house of representatives --- with as many as we have nobody can agree on anything .-- and it would drastically cut the budget . If they serve just one term they are still eligable for full pay and medical benefits for life -- if they die their spouse gets halt the benefits fot the rest of thier life .They , when voted out should loose all benefits and join the group finding a job and insurance like the rest of us . and the electorial vote is not necessarialy the one the majority of the people want .
Henry F. Watkins,Sr November 26, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Frank Watkins Sr. Why yes put the tax burden back on the backs of the middle classs. it's always been there ..Get ready to grab their pensions ,keep the country afloat.no increases to their income from their hard-earned social security, honesty- Not a" staraight face" you are good at that - but with the truth Next year my Medicare premium is going up (due to oboma care) , no increase in " cost of living " causing a drop in my Social Security of $76.00 due to the incres of obama care tax .But let's not increase the taxes on the wealthy, all of you politicians make more than the cut out bracket. Mayby $76.00 doesn't sound like much to you , but try ii in the middle class category. Cutting the legislatative branch would save much more that what is being done , we could pay down our debts.And let's stop being the first and last to stick our nose in another countries problems or wars .We cannot afford it and we don't need to kill off our legal citizens to make room for illegal immigrants.There is an 80% return rate rate of felons who have been who have been deported Cut out foreign aid they hate us anyhow And 50 billion in foreign aid to Egypt by far richer than us.You use to be able to travel the world and be respected as an American ,now,you better keep your mouth shut .Why keek sending them foerign aid they hate us anyhow !!! .Their are plenty of homeless ,hungry in this country that could use that money .
Robert Kelly November 26, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Shawn, The only items I saw in the article on entitlement reform were to raise the age for social security retirement benefits, and means testing. Clearly raising the age only affects those who depend upon Social Security; the "2%" don't need it anyway and may retire whenever they feel like it. Means testing might be save something, but ut depends upon how strict the test is. It also might prompt some folks to feel ripped off after paying into the system for 50 years, and then not getting much back. How about paying Social Security tax on ALL income, not capped at $107K? If you make a million, pay SS on that million. Question...if the income is on capital gains and stock transactions (taxed at the lower rate of capital gains), do the people pay social security tax on that type income?
Robert Kelly November 26, 2012 at 11:39 PM
Frank, the major part of our foreign aid is military-based, to buy the support of the local government of whatever country is getting the aid. USA gives an astonishingly low percent of GDP for foreign humanitarian aid. Most humanitarian aid is from private agencies like Save the Children. I certainly agree with you that we do not need to go halfway around the world to kill the people who live there, and get our own men and women killed in the process, and spend billions of dollars destroying a country so we can spend additional billions rebuilding it. What have we gained for ourselves through the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? We have alienated millions of people, we have destroyed buildings and bridges, and we have killed so many people who were never a threat to us...until we invaded their country and they predictably fought back. What have we gained, and at what cost to ourselves?
George Grace December 05, 2012 at 02:12 PM
You're right, it's time for the Electoral College to go away. In 2008 presidential election 300,000 Arizonians vote didn't count. Why? Electoral college votes are the number of House of Rep's seats. Based on census figures taken every 10 years, two more years to count and certify. But population shifts, moving to the sunbelt for example in the case of Arizona, happen every year. Presidential elections are every four (4) years. So six(6) years of pop shifts are uncounted. 4+4+4 = 12 years. This is going to happen every pres election from now on. It affects SC too, a sunbelt retirement state.
George Grace December 05, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Iraq. 4.8K US killed 28K US hideously wounded. 100K Iraqi's killed. 500K refugess displaced. 1 Trillion $ spent. One suicide a day in US forces. Iraq: unstabile govt, bombings every day, a country ruined. Why? Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove wanted to be re-elected in 2008. That's why. Bush lost the popular vote in 2000. A war pres is re-elected. So Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rove I hope your sleep is bad, your conscience eats you up and you 4 burn in hell. But I don't believe your sleep is disturbed at all.
George Grace December 05, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Oops. For 2008 read 2004.


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