Posted at 3:29 PM on September 17, 2012
by Tim Pugmire
Filed under: Campaign 2012: U.S. Senate
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kurt Bills is suggesting that he could support a tax increase as part of a plan to reduce the federal budget deficit.
During an appearance today at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School, Bills said he would be open to a compromise measure similar to the Simpson Bowles Commission recommendations, which included a mix of spending cuts and increased tax revenue. The state representative and high school economic teacher from Rosemount also supports Republican Sen. Rand Paul's budget proposal, which includes cuts in social security and the creation of a new flat tax. But Bills said he wants to find a compromise.
"I will vote for the compromise, no matter what it is," Bills said. "I don't care if I have to have a verbal or physical confrontation with Grover Norquist. I'm going to vote for the compromise, because that's what my students in my high school classes, and the reason why I'm running, would want me to do."
Bills, who's challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, said Congress needs more everyday Americans, like him, who are willing to focus on problem-solving rather than getting re-elected.
On the topic of civil liberties, Bills said the treatment of a filmmaker linked to an anti-Islamic movie that has sparked protests across the Middle East raises concerns.
Federal authorities in Southern California interviewed the filmmaker, who is now in hiding, over the weekend at a Los Angeles sheriff's station. Bills said the action is an example of what he views as the nation's "liberty deficit."
"We had him taken out of his home by federal agents to be questioned," he said. "So, will there not be a first amendment any longer in this contry? I would have to ask that. It really bothers me."
Bills later clarified that his concern is specific to the first amendment questions raised by the incident. He stressed that he does not agree with the content of the controversial film.
Photo: Tim Pugmire