Pledges of bipartisanship came from both Democratic challenger Brad Schneider of Deerfield and Rep. Robert Dold (R-Kenilworth) during a debate Sunday in Lake Forest as Dold threw away a pledge made to Grover Norquist and Americans for Tax Reform to never raise taxes.
Both Dold and Schneider talked about the economy, government spending, balancing budgets, the Middle East, women’s health and other issues in front of more than 600 people in a forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters, Patch and the Union League Club of Chicago.
When asked if they would support deficit reduction solutions which would both increase revenue and reduce spending, Dold and Schneider said they would. For Dold this was a departure from a pledge he signed for Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform before being elected to Congress two years ago.
All but four Republican members of the House of Representatives have signed the pledge. The issue came up when the candidates were asked if they would support the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan calling for new revenue and reduced spending. "I would say yes," Dold said.
Dold then touted his support of the Cooper-LaTourette financial plan as an alternative to the House Republican Budget authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), his party’s vice presidential candidate. He was one of eight co-sponsors—four Democrats and four Republicans.
“,” Dold said. “All options have to be on the table.”
After the debate, Patch asked Dold if his support for the Cooper-LaTourette budget meant he had voted for more government revenue in contradiction of the Norquist pledge. “I did say that,” he said.
Schneider stressed his commitment to working across the aisle as well and criticized Dold for his support of the Ryan plan.
“I’ll do it in a way we will be able to get more than 38 votes,” Schneider said of his intentions to work with Republicans. “The day after (Cooper La Tourette was defeated) he (Dold) voted for the Ryan budget that will replace Medicare with a voucher system.”
Dold has said the Ryan plan he supports makes no changes for people over 55 and still gives people the opportunity to keep traditional Medicare.
Dold did tell the gathering he does not believe any tax increases are a good idea with the economy still in a fragile state while Schneider wants people earning in excess of $250,000 per year to pay the tax rate in effect before the Bush era cuts were passed in 2011.
“We need comprehensive tax reform,” Schneider said. “We should bring back the tax rates (for those earning over $250,000 per year) we had in 1999, the last time we had a balanced budget when spending as a percent of GDP (gross domestic product) and revenue met at 19 percent.”