Cantor: Voters more concerned about problem solving than pledge
November 26th, 2012
12:05 PM ET
10 years ago

Cantor: Voters more concerned about problem solving than pledge

(CNN) - House Majority Leader Eric Cantor became another Republican on Capitol Hill to suggest he is willing to put aside the Grover Norquist-backed pledge he signed not to raise taxes when considering options to avert the so-called fiscal cliff.

Cantor said in interviews Monday that his Virginia constituents did not re-elect him earlier this month to a seventh term because he had signed the pledge not to increase tax rates advanced by Norquist's group Americans for Tax Reform.

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"I will tell you when I go to the constituents that have elected, re-elected me it is not about that pledge. It is really about trying to solve problems," he said in an interview on MSNBC. "We were not re-elected to raise taxes or increase marginal rates. We were re-elected to fix the problems, to get the economy going again and to fix the deficit."

Several Republicans, including Senators Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, have in the past week sought distance from the pledge, which has been signed by a majority of Republican lawmakers in Washington.

Led by House Speaker John Boehner, Republicans have put increased revenue on the table in negotiations to avert going over the fiscal cliff, which is a combination of federal budget spending cuts and tax increases for nearly all Americans that are set to go into effect in the new year. Congressional leaders and President Barack Obama are working to find a solution as economists predict going over the cliff would put the U.S. economy back into recession.

Boehner, Cantor, and others have said they are open to increasing revenue through capping or reduction of credits and other loopholes, but are opposed to raising rates. "Increasing marginal rates versus more revenues is the distinction there," Cantor said.

Obama favors increasing rates for wealthy earners and has said he agrees with Republicans on extending the tax cuts passed under former President George W. Bush for middle-income earners.

Republicans have advanced savings through reforms to entitlement programs, such as Social Security and Medicare.

"We fix the problem by number one getting a handle on these entitlements," Cantor said.

In a separate interview, he advocated for putting Obama's health reform law on the negotiating table, but could not say whether it had come up in discussions between congressional leaders and the White House.

"If the president is serious about joining us and fixing the problem, he ought to be putting Obamacare on the table," Cantor said on the Fox News Channel. "There's no question in my mind that's the largest expansion of government programs."

Boehner wrote in an op-ed published Wednesday "that the law has to stay on the table as both parties discuss ways to solve our nation's massive debt challenge."

A CNN/ORC International poll released Monday indicates two-thirds of people questioned believe the U.S. would face a crisis if the cliff is not averted, and more say they would blame the consequences on Republicans in Congress rather than President Barack Obama.

Also on the CNN Political Ticker

- Graham says he'd break no-tax 'pledge'

- Cantor: Voters more concerned about problem solving than pledge

- Christie gets post-Sandy approval rating bump

- Norquist says he'll go after pledge-breakers

- Rep. Capito to run for Senate in West Virginia

Filed under: Eric Cantor • Fiscal Cliff
soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. Kentucky Burbon

    I think that everyone that signed that Pledge should be removed from office because when elected they swore to uphold the constitution of the United States, and the last time I checked I didn't see Grover's name nowhere on the constitution

    November 26, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  2. rs

    Dear Mr. Cantor- the fact the GOP makes "pledges" to anything but the Constitution IS the problem.

    November 26, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  3. ghostriter

    Geez......again with the healthcare law. And here I was about to congratulate republicans for only being 4 years behind the rest of the country.

    Look losers. Obama got the AFA, parts of the Dream Act and other things that you said would end America as we know it. He was re-elected. Apparently, the people didn't think as you did. Knowing full well what he did, what he is proposing and what he will do, he was re-elected.

    I know you guys are clinging to that last bit of respect and power that is quickly disappearing. But it is time to face facts. Obama won. Democrats won. You guys lost. Get over it, get on board with the gameplan or get gone.

    November 26, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  4. Rhonda Rahn

    The GOP continues to be the party of NO. We Americans will vote the Republicans OUT of the House in 2014. Good riddance GOP....The Geezer OLD Party that caters to the wealthy.

    November 26, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  5. California gary

    So now this twit wants to "solve problems"? He has been one of the barriers to any problem solving over the past few years.......lets hope he really has seen the light and isn't just playing the political moment.

    November 26, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  6. Mark in Seattle

    Norquist should be run out of town.

    November 26, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  7. roro

    As far as I'm concerned Cantor is the one Republican leader I'm most fearful of. Ever notice the way he looks at Boehner, while standing next to him? He so wants that job, he'll do anything to get it. I also believe he's the one who led the fight against the grand bargain Obama and Boehner had agreed to. Now he, like others in his party, are singing a new song. I don't trust him at all to do what is right for the country, only what will get him more power. This is a dangerous man.

    November 26, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Wanna reform Medicare? Get rid of the cottage insurance induatry that sprang to life as a result of George W. Bush's "improvements and reforms" to Medicare. Why do we need all of these private insurance middlemen in the revenue stream? All that they're doing is bleeding off profit by the billions.

    November 26, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  9. Dannytelevision

    Earlier this month these traitorous Republicans made preventing re-election of our president their #1 job.
    Having FAILED that task they will now try to cut social security, medicare, education, and affordable health care...while increasing military spending. Just to keep their millionaire tax rate low.
    Time to vote EVERY Republican out of office.

    November 26, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  10. surf for sun

    This fool was on Morning Joe (MSNBC) this morning spewing the same idiotic notion that raising personal tax rates will hamper job creation. What a falicy. Hiring decisions are based on the impact of increasing profit in a company not on the tax paid on the profit made. Who says to themselves, I could hire more employees, grow the business to meet demand but wait, no I'm paying a higher tax on the income so scrap that...

    November 26, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  11. Independents 2012

    @RoRo I couldn't have said it better. There has always been something about Cantor that rubbed me wrong.

    November 26, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  12. Ben

    They are not going to raise much more revenue because the wealthy have had plenty of planning time to evade it the last year. It will hit some of the elderly and ill informed who are unprepared. Most of the wealthy did not get that way by being stupid.

    November 26, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  13. sonny chapman

    The Dems. want the Top Rate on those making over $250,000 to go back to the Clinton Era, 39.7 %. The Repubs. want to keep it at the Bush Era rate of 35 %. Splitting the difference yields a top rate of 37.35 % HOW COMPLICATED IS THAT ?

    November 26, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  14. calamity jane

    Cantor did nothing but hinder and block any and all progress for the last four years. He turned his head while the rest of the country continued to sink. Now he suddenly has an epiphany that he is there to "solve" problems and not make them? Slow learner. Republicans – something is just not right with you.

    November 26, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  15. Disgusted

    As long as there is give and take on BOTH sides, get it done!

    November 26, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  16. Travis

    Ok, so now some Republicans are willing to break their pledge to help reach a compromise. What are Democrats willing to compromise on? I don't want to hear that they shouldn't have to compromise on anything, because that will just show they are not willing to negotiate. It's time we stop livining in the past and take care of our problems now.

    November 26, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  17. brian

    i'm sure greece felt the same as you socialists.

    November 26, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    What is most amazing about conservative push to reform entitlements is that 70% of welfare, medicaid, and medicare spending went to people who voted for Romney. There's a whole of seniors out there in nursing homes, and the red states take in far more than what they pay in.

    November 26, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  19. dos

    The GOP finally growing a pair. This has been the problem in politics all along, the control of the many by the influence of the few (usually those with great self interest).

    November 26, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  20. Curt

    Sounds like politics to me. Lets make it seem that we're flexible but lets try once again to put Obamacare on the menu. The republicans need to realize that the American people gave Obama another 4 years so obviously Obamacare was not an issue. I'am sure there are all kinds of ways to cut expenses like congress not voting to spend hundreds of millions of dollars refitting tanks that the military said they didn't need. Lets get serious guys.

    November 26, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  21. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    If you signed Grover's pledge, you should be tried for TREASON!!! I know that sounds a bit extreme, but when you put the interest of a lobbyist ahead of those of the American People who elected you, then I find that down right treasonous.

    November 26, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  22. maf

    Wow, it is pretty hard to take this version of the GOP seriously. Before the election and during the last debate over raising the debt ceiling, the GOP took their ball and went home. Now that they have been shown their platform has been rejected by a majority of the voters, the tune is changing. No longer are they bent on destroying the American economy just to take back the White House, now they have to save their own JOBS!!! Hypocritical at best, disingenuous for sure!
    Cantor, Boehner and McConnell better figure out how to make the most headway in the shortest amount of time or 2014 will devastate the party, the House and the Senate as the GOP could get swept away.

    November 26, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  23. bozo

    Grover. the monster at the end of the book!

    November 26, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  24. Seth

    I have complete faith that nothing will get solved that will make anyone happy between Obama, Reid and Boehner. Taxes will go up, debt will rise, entitlements will go on unrestrained, and US competitiveness will continue to slide. Those are given but the real question is where are the places to be the next decade for employment and investments.

    November 26, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  25. Marie

    Eric Cantor said...that's all I needed to hear. LOL Next!

    November 26, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
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