Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) “poses a significant obstacle to any bipartisan deficit reduction deal in the Senate that would raise taxes, according to Senate aides and activists,” The Hill reports.
Hatch would have significant say over any deficit-reduction as ranking Republican on the Senate Finance panel, which has jurisdiction over taxes, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
He told conservative activists shortly before the April recess that he would oppose any deficit-reduction package that raises taxes, period.
“He has stressed no tax increases,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, a prominent anti-tax group, speaking of assurances Hatch made at a recent Tax Day event with conservatives. “That’s what he told me when he was at the April 14 press conference. Hatch was there and stressed no tax increases. Period.”
Senate sources say Hatch has taken an equally hard line in discussions within the Senate.
“Hatch has been insistent on no new taxes,” said a Senate aide.
Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), who is part of the “gang of six” currently working on a deficit reduction proposal, said Thursday that “the group could call for tax increases on some people but that taxes would not be raised by a significant amount.”
“There’s no plan to have a significant tax hike on anyone,” Coburn said on Laura Ingraham’s radio show.
But Coburn has not ruled out tax increases altogether.
“Will some people pay increased taxes? I’m sure they will,” Coburn said.