Lewiston Tribune: CHEERS to U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho
CHEERS ... to U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho. Having garnered accolades for joining the "Gang of Six," Crapo merits equal heaps of praise for sticking with the "Gang of Five."
The gang - former members of the budget reduction panel chaired by former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., and former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Eskine Bowles - had been privately forging a consensus to reduce the federal budget deficit by $4 trillion during the next decade.
Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Mark Warner of Virginia inevitably would have to sell their side on program cuts.
Republicans - Crapo, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma - could dress it up any way they want, but they would have to find a way for their party to accept more tax revenues. If not a rate increase, then it would mean closing some tax loopholes.
For a solid conservative such as Crapo, it's a gamble. His base won't like him working with Democrats and the project exposes him to the promoting a tax measure.
So if ever Crapo had cover to walk, it came last week.
Coburn pulled away from the group.
Rather than withdraw, Crapo says he remains committed to addressing what the Idaho Republican believes to be a mortal threat to the nation's well-being. In fact, he met privately with anti-tax guru Grover Norquist a week ago. It was Norquist who accused Crapo, Coburn and Chambliss of breaking their pledge against raising taxes.