“A pair of congressional Republicans reiterated their willingness Sunday to violate an anti-tax pledge in order to strike a deal on the ‘fiscal cliff,’ echoing Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the Georgia Republican who suggested last week that the oath may be outdated,” the Washington Post reports. “Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said he was prepared to set aside Grover Norquist’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge if Democrats will make an effort to reform entitlements, and Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.) suggested the pledge may be out of step in the present economy.”
The L.A. Times: “Graham, King depart from Norquist's anti-tax pledge.”
Peter King (R-NY) on Meet the Press: “I agree entirely with Saxby Chambliss. A pledge you signed 20 years ago, 18 years ago, is for that Congress,” King said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” He continued: “For instance, if I were in Congress in 1941, I would have signed a declaration of war against Japan. I’m not going to attack Japan today. The world has changed, and the economic situation is different.”
(By the way, the New York Daily News reports King will be stepping down as chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. (King, a Republican, is giving up the top spot under self-imposed Republican rules that limit members to serving no more than six years as a committee chairman. King already had a waiver to serve a seventh year, which he is now completing.)
But as the L.A. Times also writes: “When Republicans in Congress say they are willing to put tax revenues on the table in budget talks with President Obama, that offer obscures a divide within their ranks that could thwart a year-end fiscal compromise.”
AP: “House Republicans still smarting from their poor showing among Hispanics in the presidential election are planning a vote next week on immigration legislation that would both expand visas for foreign science and technology students and make it easier for those with green cards to bring their immediate families to the U.S.”
“[A]s advocates mobilize for what is likely to be a two-year drive to get an immigration law enacted, their optimism may be tested by a dose of reality,” Reuters writes. “However sympathetic Obama might be, he will be preoccupied with fiscal battles well into next year and less likely to engage in the kind of salesmanship analysts believe is essential to sell broad immigration policy changes to the public.”
“U.S. lawmakers have made little progress in the past 10 days toward a compromise to avoid the harsh tax increases and government spending cuts scheduled for January 1, a senior Democratic senator said on Sunday,” Reuters writes of Dick Durbin’s (D-IL) appearance on a Sunday show.
“Republican Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.) on Monday touted his proposal for avoiding the ‘fiscal cliff’ and urged lawmakers to ‘rip the band aid off’ and pass a meaningful deficit-reduction package before January,” The Hill writes.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said Sunday he could change his mind about Susan Rice becoming secretary of state, but would want to hear from her first.
The L.A. Times says McCain “softens opposition to Rice.”
Meanwhile, in other McCain news: “McCain said on Sunday the GOP needs to embrace a bigger tent and immigration reform - and leave abortion "alone” in the wake of the disappointing 2012 presidential elections,” Politico writes.
Chicago Tribune: “Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. resigned from Congress on Wednesday, saying in a letter that he is cooperating with a federal investigation ‘into my activities’ but blaming his health problems for his decision to step down just two weeks after his reelection. Jackson's letter to House Speaker John A. Boehner was his first acknowledgment of the ongoing corruption inquiry into his alleged misuse of campaign dollars.”