The Daily Rundown | November 26, 2012
>>> more top lawmakers have expressed the need to break away from the anti-tax activist grover norquist . here is another one.
>> the key here is whether or not the republicans will move away from the ideologically rigid position which has been the grover norquist pledge.
>> a pledge signed 20 years ago, 18 years ago is for that congress.
>> i will violate the pledge, long story short, for the good of the kcountry only if democrats will do entitlement reform.
>> let me salute lindsey graham . what he said about revenue and taxes needs to be said on his side of the aisle.
>> joining me now is the president of american bridge 21st century and a former spokesperson for harry reid and susan page and brad, a former spokesperson for brad. so you know the hill, the candidates well enough. susan, let me start with you. i feel like washington, we in the media get caught up. when senators speak, oh, wow, it must mean something. is it harsh to say it's 100 elected pundits that are a sideshow while the real action is between the white house ?
>> eric cantor 's comments were more significant than what we've heard from senators yesterday on the sunday shows because it's not as though he made a promise that he was going to defy grover norquist and the conventional stance of his party but his tone was different.
>> the tone has been there since the election.
>> but this is -- what stage are we in? we're not in the stage people put all their cards on the table. we have a couple weeks to go and i do think you are hearing -- you are seeing both sides trying to explore where is it we could possibly get a deal that gets us through the new year without going off the fiscal cliff?
>> brad, we seem to have an idea where the white house will budge. they don't need to put tax rates all the way to 39%. is there any flexibility on the issue of tax rates and why is it doesn't appear to be among house republicans?
>> grover norquist is like a reporter --
>> he really is.
>> more than in republican conference.
>> he does answer his phone.
>> there's a change in tone and i think that's right. i think revenue is being put on the table. that's a huge move for the republican conference. rates are very tough for republicans. if you look back historically, anytime a republican has raised rates, they've lost.
>> and they've been primaries.
>> people talk about object sti nens but we don't believe raising taxes is a good thing. raising revenue, there's a way to achieve that goal. but the times are also changed. everyone is facing a massive tax increase on 0 january 1st. they weren't doing that last summer. it's a different time. so we're putting revenue on the table. the real question is, is the white house willing to do something significant to get costs under control?
>> harry reid and dick durbin said forget it. social security is not a part of this conversation. and yet the president has shown a willingness to do that. what happens if he publicly -- and republicans right now, their frustration is that the president will say that behind the scenes but he won't public ly talk about it as much as they want him to talk about it publicly. what happens politically on the left?
>> i think there's some people on the left who would not appreciate having social security and medicare as part of this, as part of this discussion. if we're in the talking phase, it doesn't hurt to talk about things that each side should put on the table. brad is right that the republicans have come a little bit with taxes.
>> the discussion is not about should taxes go up. the discussion is how do you do it?
>> exactly. and, listen, i think that to the extent we are just talking right now, i don't think that talking hurts. but should this become -- should this come in play, little there will be a lot of people on the left who will not be very happy. i think in some ways it is apples and oranges . i think what you're hearing is we will do this, however, you need to do the separate thing over there. i don't think social security has anything to do with it.
>> let's talk raw numbers here. at the end of the day you have to find 218 house members. and in the past john boehner has said and, oh, by the way, his election is after the fiscal cliff. that happens a couple days after the fiscal cliff. so all of this maneuvering is complicated. to get to 218 he has said he wants a majority of the majority, which is approximately 120 republicans, so then you have to find some nearly 100 democrats to do this as well, and if that has social security and medicare in it, can it happen?
>> you are not going to have a deal that only has taxes and doesn't do anything about entitlements. that's not acceptable even no those who indicated they would defy the mythical grover norquist . so maybe not social security but medicare and medicaid , it's hard to believe you don't have a deal that includes those as well. what do we have in a compromise? no one is happy with it and everyone thinks it's important enough to go ahead and do.
>> brad, very quickly, will boehner be willing to go to the floor without the majority?
>> i think boehner will negotiate the best deal he can with all the members in mind. will he go to the floor? i don't think as a speaker you want to go to the floor with something your members don't support. it's going to take a while for him to bridge the gap between where the members are and where they need to go. entitlement reforms are going to have to be a part. that's where the spending problem is.