Anti-tax lobbyist Grover Norquist on Monday insisted that Republicans in Congress would hold the debt ceiling hostage to ensure that there would be no tax increases on even the wealthiest Americans as part of a deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff.
During an interview with the founder of Americans for Tax Reform on CNN, host Ali Velshi noted that many viewers were outraged that the media continued to give Norquist so much airtime to campaign against a balanced fiscal cliff deal.
"All I get from people is tweets about, 'Why do you keep putting Grover Norquist, who is a big part of this problem, on TV?'" Velshi explained. "Because we have to have this conversation because you have great deal of influence over these members of Congress."
"You're right," Norquist agreed. "And some folks on the left are not big on the First Amendment for other people, but we can set that aside right now."
"We should take as many of the tax cuts off the table as possible," he continued. "And then because Republicans have the clout of the debt ceiling increase -- which they effectively used a year and a half ago -- and the continuing resolution where they could dole out money slowly to Obama and the Democrats to spend while reining it in, those are two very powerful tools."
"I'm not sure how effectively they used it," Velshi pointed out. "That was 517 days ago and that's why we're in the mess we are now."
As for any deal that lawmakers may reach on Monday, Norquist said he was "working with all the folks that are trying to defend taxpayers here in Congress."
"The leadership of the House have all made the commitment in writing to their constituents to oppose all efforts to raise taxes."
"I don't think you're going to see something that actually raises taxes," he added. "We may get some tax cuts now and have to fight for others later. Watch for the leverage the Republicans have on the debt ceiling and the continuing resolution. That allows us to come back and actually fight for spending cuts, but also for further tax reduction."