In response to “GOP’s Messaging Problem on Medicare?” in POLITICO’s Arena, Grover Norquist writes: “The Democrats’ plan for Medicare is to watch the plan go bankrupt as spending careens out of control. The Ryan plan gives control to citizens and avoids the crack-up Obama's policies create. When the debate is between Ryan and Obama — Ryan wins. If the debate is between Ryan and the fantasy that all is well, then the fantasy can win. The more America focuses on this, the better off Republicans will be.”

ATR Government Affairs Manager Mattie Corrao at POLITICO: “Defense Secretary Robert Gates has spent his last week on the job arguing against across-the-board cuts for the Pentagon. It would, however, be a mistake to take this salvo to mean there are no more efficiencies to be found in military accounts. The lack of introspection on how tax dollars are spent has allowed procurement costs to skyrocket, with weapons programs today, on average, running an estimated $300 billion over budget.Lawmakers have been able to protect other pet projects by placing defense spending above reproach or inflating accounts to create hiding places for political pork. This gluttony comes at the expense of a more intelligent, streamlined and efficient military body. The incoming defense secretary should start by eradicating the duplicities that should have to justify their redundancies — not enjoy sanctimony because of it.”

Kate Ackley from Roll Call reports: “In Washington lobbying circles, the likes of Andy Stern and Grover Norquist are archenemies, sworn opponents on politics and policy. But Stern, president emeritus of the Service Employees International Union, and Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform's chief, oddly enough are pushing for the same piece of tax legislation. Known in wonkland as repatriation, the proposal would allow companies to temporarily bring back to the United States overseas profits for a fraction of the cost in taxes. The policy has collected an unusual roster of supporters on and off the Hill. Those backers say it may infuse the domestic economy with about $1 trillion. ‘When you can bring Andy Stern, Grover Norquist, the business community, and Republican and Democratic Members of the House together, I'd say you are on to something,’ said SKDKnickerbocker's Doug Thornell, who is working for the coalition.”

Kevin Yamamura from The Sacramento Bee covers the spar between Jerry Brown and Grover Norquist: “Norquist wields a big stick when it comes to California's budget: A one-sentence pledge against higher taxes signed by nearly all GOP lawmakers. The president of Washington, D.C.-based Americans for Tax Reform says placing a tax measure on the ballot for voters to decide, as Brown wants, would violate the promise. Norquist said he traveled to Sacramento to meet with legislators ‘serious about stopping tax increases.’”

Amy Harder for the National Journal writes: “The influential Americans for Tax Reform and its president, Grover Norquist, also opposes the current ethanol subsidies and the natural gas-powered trucks proposal. It has been working with senators to introduce a bill similar to the Coburn-Feinstein bill but would include a tax-cut offset. ‘Our opposition to Senator Coburn’s ethanol bill is strictly because it is a net tax hike,’ said Chris Prandoni, federal affairs manager for ATR. ‘Had Senator Coburn’s bill included an equal or larger tax cut to offset the legislation’s tax hike, ATR would have championed the bill.’ ATR’s ‘Taxpayer Protection Pledge’ binds lawmakers in writing to oppose tax increases, and all but seven Republicans in the House and seven GOP senators have signed it this year. The position of conservative groups that energy subsidies are bad is not new, of course. But their clout this Congress has increased given the renewed focus on cutting the budget and the tea party’s power both in Congress and throughout the country.

In The Christian Science Monitor, Gail Russell Chaddock explores the GOP definition of tax hikes: “What precisely constitutes a tax increase? The answer may not be as obvious as it seems, and the ensuing debate is opening a surprisingly public wedge between two GOP icons of fiscal restraint. Here's the nub of the Republican family feud: Is it ever permissible to end a tax break (or a tax deduction) for an industry or some other subset of taxpayers, without also finding offsets so that government revenues won't rise as a result? Grover Norquist, of the antitax group Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), says no, period. By his calculus, any repeal of a tax break means more revenue for government, which will always spend it, and less freedom for Americans. For Mr. Norquist, the fight over debt and deficit is a golden opportunity to shrink government and undo much of the 60-year legacy of the New Deal. He insists that this is no time to give Democrats an escape from the deep spending cuts that GOP leaders want.”