Low-tax crusader and Republican strategist Grover Norquist tells Newsmax that Republicans should seek a one-year delay in the implementation of the healthcare reform bill as a first step toward abolishing the "disaster" of Obamacare.
He also asserts that President Barack Obama's tax reform plan is a "Trojan horse" hiding a trillion-dollar tax increase.
Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform, whose Taxpayer Protection Pledge asks candidates to commit themselves in writing to oppose all tax increases.
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In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV on Monday, Norquist discusses efforts to delay Obamacare.
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"The good news is, we have dozens and dozens of conservative groups from the Repeal Coalition, the effort to repeal Obamacare, that sent a letter to the Republican leaders. And there are now 50 Republicans in the House who have co-sponsored Marsha Blackburn's legislation to delay the implementation of Obamacare for a year," he says.
"Our goal is to get rid of Obamacare and to replace it with a pro-consumer, pro-healthcare effort. But what can we do now as long as Obama is president and you have Harry Reid, left-wing Democrat, running the U.S. Senate? We could get a one-year delay, just as in 2011 we got an agreement that Obama signed to cut $2.5 trillion in spending out of the next decade's budget.
"If we delay it one year, we could go back and delay it again. Why might the president sign a bill that delays his signature effort? Because he could look you in the eye and say 'I delayed it, I didn't end it.'
"And he also has to worry that the plan is so flawed and so not ready for prime-time, that trying to get it pushed before 2014 might blow up in his face and cost him more Senate and House seats in 2014. We would like to spare the country that kind of disaster, of putting in a plan that's not ready and destructive when it is ready."
Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Marco Rubio of Florida are among the Republicans threatening to allow a government shutdown unless Obamacare is defunded.
Norquist comments: "Some people have said that we should ask the president to sign a bill to abolish Obamacare overnight, or we should let the government shut down. It's unlikely the president would sign a deal like that. This is the central piece of his presidency. He could allow a year's delay and maintain his dignity.
"We should ask for abolition. We should ask to defund it. We should pass it in the House. My sense is it's unlikely to pass in the Senate, and while we push for that, we should look at what's plan B if our first request isn't met. If we had the House, Senate, and the presidency, we could just do plan A. Obama's the president of the United States. He has the veto, unfortunately."
Asked if a government shutdown would hurt the GOP, Norquist responds: "Well, who would explain why the government is being shut down? CBS, ABC, NBC, Time magazine, and The Washington Post. So it's a toss-up.
"Could we convince the country that we were trying to reform things and the president wouldn't? Maybe. It's more likely that if we're announcing we're looking to close the government down that we'll get the blame for closing it down.
"The reason why doing a one-year delay is a powerful message is that the president has already conceded that his plan is not ready and he has a one-year delay for big businesses. So we have a populist message, which is that if it's good for the goose, it's good for the gander. If big business should get exempt, then so should small businesses and individuals.
"The president has admitted that much of his plan is not ready. We have a country ready to understand we should delay it a year. The country isn't quite there yet on abolition."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recently said Obamacare is absolutely a step toward a single-payer system.
Norquist says Reid "spoke accurately and honestly, but I thought they were trying to keep that a secret.
"Obamacare was set up to fail, to fail into single-payer. They had hoped to have a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate so that every time something broke, it would get fixed in a way that drove us into single-payer. But a Republican House and a stronger Republican vote in the Senate has made it impossible. Every time there's been a failure, we've moved it in the opposite direction and that's why delay is something that Obama might do to try to save Obamacare. But it sets the stage for permanent delays in the future."
A Gallup poll over the weekend showed Obama with an approval rating of just 41 percent.
"One of the things that's interesting is you see some polls that say Congress has a 10 percent approval rating," Norquist tells Newsmax.
"So people are unhappy that Congress isn't able to accomplish more, but there's a reason why there's a stalemate in Washington. You have a left-wing Democrat [as president], a left-wing Senate, and a conservative Reagan-Republican House. Of course they're not going to agree. That's progress from when the Democrats had all three and were able to do what they wanted to.
"So I'm pleased that the Reagan Republicans run the House. The challenge for all of us is, how do we win a Senate committed to Reagan's Republican values and a president?"
Obama recently offered Republicans a so-called grand bargain which would lower the corporate tax rate from 35 to 28 percent and close some loopholes in return for supposed investments in jobs.
That "wouldn't help," Norquist maintains. "The president's plan is, he says tax reform but he views tax reform as a Trojan horse inside of which he has a trillion-dollar tax increase. So his plan is a tax hike over the next decade and massive stimulus spending.
"This is a man who's learned nothing in five years. He wants another stimulus package and another tax increase and thinks that you'll get a different answer. People have seen him fail, learn nothing, fail, learn nothing, and he's back with the same tired, failed, discredited tax-and-spend programs. He thinks Detroit is the way to run the country. The country doesn't agree."
Turning to another issue, Norquist declares: "I'm in favor of immigration reform. I'm not necessarily in favor of the Senate bill. The House is talking about greatly improving the direction that the Senate was going in. They're going to have more serious border security, a more serious guest-worker program so that agriculture can get people and we don't leave crops rotting in the fields. We need more guest workers for construction as well," he maintains.
"We also need high-tech immigration. When people come here and get skilled degrees in computers and science, I want them to stay. I don't want them going back to China or India and setting up companies to compete with the United States. ... Let's have more talent come here and stay here as well. And that's where this House bill is going to be an improvement over the Senate bill."
Norquist predicts there will be an immigration bill passed within the next seven or eight months.
"Perhaps this year, perhaps early spring," he says.
"A lot of these reforms Republicans have been trying to do for many, many years. It was the Democrats who stopped them. Remember, President Obama was president for two years in all of 2009, all of 2010. He had a Democratic House, a Democratic Senate, and he did nothing on immigration reform.
"He's not for immigration reform. When Bush put forward immigration reform in 2007, the guy who killed it was named Barack Obama. It was his vote which passed a poison pill amendment to kill the whole thing. So he tries to use this for political purposes. But Obama's not for immigration reform – not a pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-secure border immigration reform, which is what the House, led by Republicans, will pass and will eventually be agreed to. The president is following on this. He's certainly not leading."
Norquist also comments on Obama's exorbitantly expensive trips while the White House remains closed to Americans due to budget cuts: "The president's being very hypocritical. He's like Louis the XVI and Marie Antoinette. They're living high on the hog.
"As long as Washington and the White House are fat and happy, they're fat and happy. They love going on vacations. The fact that other people are unemployed obviously doesn't bother them."
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