House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-VA, sent a memo to congressional Republicans yesterday urging them to ignore the S&P's finding that the GOP resistance to any form of tax increase was partly responsible for the credit rating downgrade. From The National Journal:
S&P didn’t base its downgrade on a change in the U.S. fiscal and economic outlook. It based it on the political game of chicken over the debt ceiling, a game that Republicans initiated and pushed to the limit, and on a growing gloom about the partisan deadlock. Part of S&P’s gloom, moreover, stemmed explicitly from what a new assessment of the GOP’s ability to block any and all tax increases.
Over the next several months, there will be tremendous pressure on Congress to prove that S&P’s analysis of the inability of the political parties to bridge our differences is wrong. In short, there will be pressure to compromise on tax increases. We will be told that there is no other way forward. I respectfully disagree.
As we have said from the beginning of the year, the new Republican Majority was elected to change the way Washington does business. We were not elected to raise taxes or take more money out of the pockets of hard working families and business people. People understand Washington can’t keep spending money that it doesn’t have. They want to see less government — not more taxes.
A recent round of polling by CBS found that fully two-thirds of the country believes tax increases and the closing of tax loopholes should be a part of budget negotiations.