In a significant development announced on Wednesday, Grover Norquist's group Americans for Tax Reform released a statement indicating that House Speaker John Boehner's (R-OH) "Plan B" to avert the so-called fiscal cliff will not be considered in violation of a pledge many lawmakers have signed to not raise taxes.
"Republicans supporting this bill are this week affirming to their constituents in writing that this bill—the sole purpose of which is to prevent tax increases—is consistent with the pledge they made to them," the statement reads.' "In ATR’s analysis, it is extremely difficult—if not impossible—to fault these Republicans’ assertion."
Boehner's "Plan B" would lock in the Bush tax cuts, which expire at the end of the year, for income under $1 million. Income above that, however, would be taxed under Clinton-era rates in the new year. Norquist's statement gives Boehner and his caucus cover once the bill goes up for a vote in the House later this week, which in turn would bolster Beohner's hand in fiscal cliff negotiations with the White House.
ATR's reasoning continues: "In particular, in this Congress the House has already voted twice to prevent any tax increases on any American. When viewed with this in mind, and considering this tax bill contains no tax increases of any kind—in fact, it permanently prevents them—matters become more clear. Having finally seen actual legislation in writing, ATR is now able to make its determination about a legislative proposal related to the fiscal cliff. ATR will not consider a vote for this measure a violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge."