Grover Norquist’s tax pledge was once considered a must for Republican members of Congress, but a new fiscal landscape and the re-election of Barack Obama is quickly turning it into a political afterthought, experts say.
The Americans for Tax Reform pledge calls on Republicans to vote for no new taxes, but though it was once supported by nearly every Republican, a growing number are turning away. In recent days the Grover Norquist tax pledge was abandoned by Senators Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
Chambliss noted that his allegiance was to the people of Georgia, not a pledge to Norquist. Graham made similar statements, noting that in order to address its debt problem, tax increases need to be on the table.
“When you’re $16 trillion in debt, the only pledge we should be making to each other is to avoid becoming Greece, and Republicans — Republicans should put revenue on the table,” Graham said on ABC‘s This Week with George Stephanopoulos. “We’re this far in debt. We don’t generate enough revenue. Capping deductions will help generate revenue. Raising tax rates will hurt job creation.”
As the Washington Post noted, the defections could signal willingness on the part of other Republicans to abandon the Grover Norquist tax pledge as they attack the deficit.
Washington Post writer Ed O’Keefe noted:
“Two high-profile Republicans Sunday joined a growing chorus of GOP officials willing to part ways with at least part of the anti-tax pledge pushed in recent years by activist Grover Norquist, more evidence that lawmakers appear willing to part ways with party orthodoxy in order to strike a deal averting the ‘fiscal cliff.’ “
Political experts believe that as more moderate Republicans back off of Grover Norquist’s tax pledge, it could provide cover for other members to do the same, especially as deficit reduction talks grow more urgent.