Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) added his voice Friday to the group of Republicans willing to explore tax increases as part of a deal to avert the fiscal cliff, telling the radio station KTRS there's a small chance he might do so as part of broader compromise.
"I think I’m unlikely to do that," Blunt said, in response to a question about raising marginal tax rates on incomes over $250,000. However, he added, "If we had real long-term entitlement reform that would offset the negative economic impact of raising tax rates, that’s something to talk about and that’s the deal."
As Think Progress, which has the audio of his response, notes:
President Obama offered $360 billion in Medicare and Medicaid savings in his FY 2013 budget, including reforming the way government health care programs pay for services to ensure that they reward quality and efficiency and not just quantity of care.
Blunt predicted there was a less than 50/50 chance Congress would reach an agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff, according to KTRS. He said his first commitment during the negotiations was to create a climate favorable to job creation.
"Do entitlement reform, even if it doesn't produce trillions of dollars in the first 10 years because you don't want to affect people approaching Medicare or approaching Social Security," he said. "But do that entitlement reform and then tax rate increases, and then the economic benefit ... would offset some of the negatives of raising tax rates."
Blunt is among the legislators who signed Grover Norquist's pledge never to raise taxes, and his official website features an article in which Norquist praised the senator last year for his resistance to raising the debt ceiling.