Jeb Bush opposes own party on tax increases
June 1st, 2012
02:03 PM ET
2 years ago

Jeb Bush opposes own party on tax increases

(CNN) - Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, often floated as a potential running mate for Mitt Romney, said he would favor slight tax increases in return for large cuts in spending - a compromise unpopular with many in his own party.

His comments came as Democratic lawmakers grilled Bush during his testimony before the House Budget Committee for a hearing titled, "Removing The Barriers To Free Enterprise And Economic Growth."

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On Capitol Hill, Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, presented a scenario to Bush, asking if he would accept a deficit reduction deal that included one dollar of new taxes for every ten dollars of spending cuts.

The same question was asked last summer at a GOP presidential debate. All eight candidates on stage, including Romney, said they would oppose such an agreement.

Bush, however, suggested he was open to the idea on Friday.

"Ten to one?" he asked.

"Yes, sir," Doggett replied.

"Yeah, this will prove I am not running for anything," he said. "If you could bring to me a majority of people to say that we are going to have ten dollars of spending cuts for one dollar of revenue enhancement - put me in coach."

His comments come as Congress faces a so-called "fiscal cliff" at the end of the year, in which Republicans and Democrats will have to reach a deficit-reduction deal to raise the debt ceiling.

Given the nature of recent political rhetoric, lawmakers are expected to face another similar, highly-charged showdown as last summer when Congress barely reached a deal in time to avoid a government default.

While some bipartisan committees have recommended that both spending cuts and tax revenues need to place, some Republicans have stood firm against increasing taxes.

When pressed in the hearing, Bush said he also disagreed with popular pledges authored by Washington anti-tax heavyweight Grover Norquist and his group, Americans for Tax Reform.

"I ran for office three times. The pledge was presented to me three times. I never signed the pledge. I cut taxes every year I was governor," Bush said.

Romney signed the latest version of the pledge last year, along with several Republican presidential candidates at the time, in what was seen as a litmus test of fiscal conservative values.

Bush, however, countered the premise of the pledge on Friday.

"I don't believe you outsource your principles and convictions to people. I respect Grover's political involvement. He has it every right to do it, but I never signed any pledge," Bush said.

But Bush did line up with Romney on a few issues, notably the candidate's position on the so-called auto bailouts.

Bush, who endorsed Romney in late March, said he agreed with the presumptive nominee's controversial position that the auto industry should have gone through bankruptcy rather than receive federal loans.

"That's the form of capitalism when the government intervenes in a muscular kind of way and I don't believe that that's appropriate," Bush said.

Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland asked if the former governor supported the bank bailouts, as well.

"I have never been asked that either. I was out of office, so now you are asking," Bush said. "I think given the circumstances of the potential for a meltdown that would have been hard to recover some support was appropriate."

The congressman further quizzed Bush about his thoughts on Medicare, asking how he viewed the role of government in providing health care to seniors.

Bush said he "can see it happening" but only in a "dramatically different way."

"I am not sure that accepting Medicare as it was created in 1965 in 2012. I mean, that is the problem. We have this attitude that if you start something in mid 20th century it is appropriate to keep doing it the same way 50 years later," he said.

Bush has repeatedly shot down the idea of running as the GOP vice presidential nominee.

Also see:

Obama campaign launches assault on Romney's Massachusetts record

Obama campaign releases third set of Spanish ads

Gonzales says Romney must make personal connection to Hispanics

Wisconsin guv up in third straight poll


Filed under: 2012 • Congress • Florida • Jeb Bush • Republicans
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Derek from Boston

    "Yeah, this will prove I am not running for anything," he said.

    A small, throwaway sentence, that says a whole heck of alot.

    June 1, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  2. NVa Native

    Rational thought being spoken out loud and coming from a Republican – amazing!
    Look out Jeb, here come the GOPuppets/tee-turbineheads wanting to roast you for being truthful about compromise & taxes. Be careful they’ll through you out of their non-existent fantasy world.

    June 1, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  3. dnick47

    Should have told that to your brother Jeb! It was a very, very, very bad idea.... especially with tow wars goign on.

    June 1, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    The Republican Party has allowed itself to be overrun by jihadists and zealots. Why? Because they can no longer drum up sufficient mainstream support to remain a viable factor in today's politics. So they scrape up what they can from the fringe parties in an effort to make up for those they have lost.

    This statement is a telling moment for Jeb Bush and Republican Party as a whole. He will undoubtedly get some heat for these comments. What remains to be seen will be how much heat coming from which people. Also, will Jeb Bush bend to the jihadists or will he be the first Republican since Charlie Crist to show some backbone and say "No" to them.

    June 1, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  5. maf

    It's a start!! Way to go Jeb!! When more high ranking Republicans join the conversation with a mixture of increased taxes and decreased spending, then we should see a move to end the gridlock in congress. In theory, it should build a stronger economy in a shorter time frame. How about $2 increase to every $10 decrease??

    June 1, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  6. Libs Are A Disease

    No more taxes! Government takes enough of our money as it is!

    June 1, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  7. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    At least Jeb is willing to talk about tax increases. If there hadn't been two wars and tax cuts, we'd have less of a budget problem. With these statements, Jeb has just lost his chance for a VP spot.

    June 1, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  8. Mike

    10 to 1 is not good enough but it is still common sence out of a Republican which is very uncommon.

    June 1, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  9. sonny chapman

    He has a heart beat. Some what affected, like so many Repub. power brokers, from living a life of privilege.

    June 1, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  10. Richard "BONEHEAD" Cheney

    Reasonableness is anathema to majority of Republicans.

    June 1, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  11. Wake up people

    I never thought I would be saying this....at least one of the shrubs has half a brain. I am happy to hear him say, he hadn't and wouldn't sign the pledge. That makes him 1000 x better than the rest of his party in my book. But I will say this, it doesn't look like Jeb will be VP. And I am sure there are some that want to kick him out of the GOP.

    OBAMA 2012!

    June 1, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  12. Curt

    I think Jeb should have run for President. Seems he's alot smarter than all the rest of them put together, Are the Republicans ever going to realize that Bush got them involved in two wars, neither of which taxes were raised to support. Had it not been for Iraq and Afganistan that have costs billions of dollars the country would be in better shape. Is it too late for Jeb to run as the Republican candidate and maybe Mitt and Trump could just go into business together.

    June 1, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  13. Some Democrat Guy

    "How about $2 increase to every $10 decrease??"
    ------
    I would much rather see $1 increase to every $5 decrease.

    June 1, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  14. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Republicans are a party of Aparthied and if you don't know what that is, look it up before you vote Republican. If Romney wins their first order of business is to pass the Ryan budget that will sell Americans on Wall Street like cattle, then theyll make the Bush era tax cuts for the rich permanent all while they are claiming to be our "savior".

    June 1, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  15. Bill

    Now he will be labeled a heretic by the GOP.

    June 1, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  16. Dean

    Too intelligent to be president.

    June 1, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  17. steven harnack

    Being absolutely unelectable to any national office does give you an opportunity for occasional candor.

    June 1, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    Don't forget that moment during one of the Republican debates where the moderator asked the field if they would accept a compromise of 10:1, spending cuts to tax increases. All of them raised their hands to signal that they would reject such a deal to thunderous applause.

    June 1, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  19. vlc

    I lived in TX when George was governor. He ran the state into the ground. I lived in FL when Jeb was governor. Totally different style of management, thinking and governing – Jeb did a great job. He also managed to broker a lot of compromises while in office. He's completely different (and smarter) than his brother. I'm a Democrat and I'd vote for Jeb if he ever ran for president. Shrub, on the other hand, was useless.

    June 1, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  20. Pamela

    ...meanwhile they'll keep giving tax breaks to companies who send American Jobs overseas and pay minimum wage to those in the US. Want to save TRILLIONS? End the wars. Want to create jobs in the USA? Bring the jobs home. Companies only deserve tax breaks when they employee US citizens a livable wage with benefits. And what I want to know about all those so-called Romney created jobs... HOW MUCH DO THEY PAY? Can the American's who hold those jobs acheive the American Dream and keep current on their low-fixed rate mortage? I seriously doubt it, so shut the f@#$ up about job creation.

    June 1, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    Be careful Jeb. You are going to be on Norquist's hit list. Guess you didn't sign the "holy pledge". Moderates or anyone willing to compromise don't seem to be welcome in the Republican party at present. The Grand Old Party has become the Greedy Old Party.

    June 1, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  22. Romney creates jobs... blah blah blah

    The GOP likes to talk the talk...meanwhile they'll keep giving tax breaks to companies who send American Jobs overseas and pay minimum wage to those in the US. Want to save TRILLIONS? End the wars. Want to create jobs in the USA? Bring the jobs home. Companies only deserve tax breaks when they employ US citizens and pay a decent, livable wage with benefits. And I want to know more about all those so-called Romney created jobs... HOW MUCH DO THEY PAY? Can the American's who hold those jobs acheive the American Dream and keep current on their low-fixed rate mortage? I seriously doubt it, so shut the f@#$ up about job creation.
    , Mitt Romney. And by the way Jeb. As a Floridian, I was not at impressed with your antics while governor. And Rick Scott, the sadist Thug, is even worse.

    June 1, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    When was the last time that we have heard a Republican utter the words, "will of the American people", or something similar. It has been years, folks. Why? Because it has been years since they have pretended to have the best interests of the "will of the American people" at heart. Republicans serve their masters, now. Is it any coincidence that this sudden change of vernacular took place across the party at the same time that Citizens United was endorsed by the SCOTUS?

    June 1, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  24. Fair is Fair

    Some Democrat Guy

    "How about $2 increase to every $10 decrease??"
    --
    I would much rather see $1 increase to every $5 decrease.
    -----------------
    Now THAT was funny!

    June 1, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  25. Gurgyl

    obama 12.

    June 1, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
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