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Surprise! Clyburn and Corker find common ground

Updated

South Carolina Congressman and Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn told Andrea Mitchell Monday that he was “pleased” with Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker’s view of getting to a fiscal compromise. “He is exactly where I am,” Clyburn said on Andrea Mitchell Reports. “I never thought that would be the case.”

Both men stressed the need to come to a compromise before the December 31 deadline. “I sure hope that people will stop talking about the fact that this is just too hard to do,” Corker told Andrea Mitchell. “This congress has had two dry runs. We’ve been through this more than any congress ever in the history of our country and really we just have to make some tough decisions. They’re going to be equally painful three months from now, nine months from now, two years from now. As a matter of fact, at that point, they’re going to have to be even more draconian.”

“Senator Corker is absolutely correct. It’s not very hard to do,” Clyburn said Monday on Andrea Mitchell Reports. “We just have to be willing to go ahead and do it and not worry about who gets the credit.”

Corker is proposing a bill that would produce a trillion dollars in revenue, with $750 from capping the amount of itemized deductions that taxpayers can claim – largely affecting the wealthiest Americans. Also included the bill are changes to Medicare and Social Security.

Clyburn and Corker agreed that in order to reach a compromise, everything has to be on the table, including entitlement reforms and raising revenue.

“It does appear that Speaker Boehner and the president are open to talking about revenue with entitlement reform,” Corker told Andrea Mitchell. “And I think you’ve seen numbers of Republicans backing the revenues piece.”

Corker joined a growing chorus of Republican lawmakers Monday morning when he broke with anti-tax lobbyist Grover Norquist’s pledge to oppose all tax increases. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor distanced himself from the pledge on Morning Joe on Monday. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Rep. Peter King (R-NY) have also publicly said they’d be willing to break their pledge against raising taxes in order to reach a fiscal compromise.

Norquist’s organization, Americans for Tax Reform, has held sway in Washington as the leading anti-tax lobby. The group’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” binds signatories to opposing and voting against tax increases for the duration of their time in office. It has been signed by 238 Representatives and 41 Senators in the current Congress, many of whom signed decades ago.

“I’m encouraged that Republicans are now ready to get beyond this pledge that kept us from doing our work in the super committee and do what is necessary to get our country moving again,” Clyburn told Andrea Mitchell on Monday.

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Surprise! Clyburn and Corker find common ground

Updated