Grover Norquist is pushing back against Republican lawmakers who say it’s time to rethink the “no new taxes” pledge.
The president of Americans for Tax Reform, the group behind the anti-tax pledge that has been signed by most Republicans on Capitol Hill, said Friday that lawmakers who have talked of the need for higher tax rates, including Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, will have to answer to their constituents.
“If he wants to change his mind and become a tax increaser so we don’t have to reform government, he needs to have that conversation with the people of Georgia,” Mr. Norquist said on CNN’s “The Situation Room.”
Two days earlier, Mr. Chambliss, a two-term Republican, told a Georgia television station that getting the country’s fiscal house in order is more important than adherance to the Norquist pledge.
“I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge,” Mr. Chambliss told WMAZ. “If we do it his way, then we’ll continue in debt and I just have a disagreement with him about that.”
Mr. Norquist told the Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper that Mr. Chambliss and other lawmakers who have talked of abandoning the pledge made their promises to voters, not to him.
“If [Mr. Chambliss] plans to vote for higher taxes to pay for Obama-sized government he should address the people of Georgia and let them know that he plans to break his promise to them. The senator’s reference to me is odd.
His promise is to the people of Georgia,” Mr. Norquist wrote, according to AJC.
“Raising taxes on the people of Georgia to pay for Obama’s reckless spending is not the right thing to do for America or Georgia. We have a problem because Washington spends too much, not because Sen. Chambliss has failed so far to raise taxes on the hard-working men and women of Georgia,” the influential anti-tax crusader said.
He urged lawmakers to stand their ground in budget negotiations with President Obama to bring the nation’s $16 trillion debt under control.
“I would urge all senators to oppose Obama’s budget that raises taxes on the American people and sets the stage for larger taxes in the future on energy that will hit all Americans and raise the cost of living while reducing the number and quality of jobs in America,” he said.
Signing the Americans for Tax Reform’s anti-tax hike pledge has become expected of almost all Republican candidates – even some Democrats – but the conservative losses earlier this month on Election Day and the looming impact of the “fiscal cliff” have some GOP leaders openly challenging Mr. Norquist.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the brother and the son of the two most recent Republican presidents, said earlier this year the GOP can’t “outsource … principles and convictions to people.”