As they face down the fiscal cliff, a growing number of Republicans are abandoning the pledge not to increase taxes that they made to anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist. Today, Hudson Valley Rep. Chris Gibson came up with what might be the most creative excuse yet for breaking the pledge. Mr. Gibson saw his district number change from 20 to 19 during this year’s redistricting process and he reasoned that the pledge no longer applies to him as it was only to the constituents under the previous district number.
“The Congressman signed the pledge as a candidate in 2010 for the 20th Congressional District,” his spokeswoman explained. “Regarding the pledge moving forward, Congressman Gibson doesn’t plan to re-sign it for the 19th Congressional District, which he now represents (the pledge is to your constituents of a numbered district).”
Earlier today, President Barack Obama gathered with the majority and minority leaders of both houses of Congress to move forward in avoiding automatic spending cuts and tax hikes set to occur at the end of the year. Although Democrats and Republicans have, at times, seemed to have irreconcilable differences in the process, the various elected officials walked out of the Roosevelt Room with an optimistic outlook that a compromise would be reached.
“I can only echo the observations of the other leaders that it was a constructive meeting. We all understand where we are….We are prepared to put revenue on the table provided we fix the real problem,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters, according to a White House pool report. “Most of my members, I think without exception, believe that we’re in the dilemma we’re in not because we taxed too little but because we spent too much.”
In order to keep the city’s fiscal house in order in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled new cuts and streams of revenue over the weekend. Among the changes, school-lunch fees will increase from $1.50 to $2.50, while city libraries will see their funding axed to the tune of $8.3 million. Asked about it during a press conference today in the hard-hit Howard Beach neighborhood in Queens, Mr. Bloomberg defended the budgetary measures.
“It’s easy to say, ‘I don’t like A, B and C,’” he argued. “Well, what things would they like us to raise taxes [on]? The issue here is that we’re trying to find some balance so that everybody shares a little bit in the pain, everybody contributes; we’re all in this together. And do it such that people can afford [it]. It’s not asking a lot to go, in this day in age, from one price to another if it’s a relatively small price. But if a large number of people do it, it contributes significant revenues.”