Grover Norquist’s tax pledge has been criticized as outdated and irrelevant, and with 36 (and counting) congressional Republicans disavowing the pledge, those criticisms seem to be gaining ground, even among its strongest GOP backers.
More and more Republicans are walking away from the pledge, which for more than 20 years has drawn a line in the sand between tax increases and the general public. Norquist’s pledge stipulates that its signatories will never cast a vote to raise taxes while in office under any circumstances. It has been seen as a de facto requirement for Republicans.
According to Americans for Tax Reform, a mere 16 our of 234 House Republicans and 6 of the 45 Senate Republicans of the 123th Congress didn’t sign the tax pledge.
Over a dozen House Republicans, including Majority Leader Eric Cantor, have distanced themselves from he pledge. A few examples, via ThinkProgress:
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH): “The only pledge that keeps me up at night is the pledge I owe to the people of New Hampshire and our country to work as hard as I can to make sure America doesn’t go bankrupt.”
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA): “I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge . . . I don’t worry about that because I care too much about my country. I care a lot more about it than I do Grover Norquist.”
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN): “Well, I’m not obligated on the pledge. I made Tennesseans aware, I was just elected, that the only thing I’m honoring is the oath I take when I’m sworn in this January.”
Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA): “When I go to the constituents, it’s not about that pledge. It’s about trying to solve problems.”
Rep. Peter King (R-NY): “A pledge is good at the time you sign it . . . In 1941, I would have voted to declare war on Japan. But each Congress is a new Congress. And I don’t think you can have a rule that you’re never going to raise taxes or that you’re never going to lower taxes. I don’t want to rule anything out.”
Rep. Timothy Johnson (R-IL): “I would never in a million years have considered this as some kind of a locked-in-granite pledge. Frankly, I didn’t even remember it. That shows you how obscure it was to me.”
These are just a handful of the congressional Republicans that have distanced themselves from the Norquist tax pledge, and the list grows every day. What do you think? Is the GOP betraying their constituents by violating the pledge, or does this signal a broader party reform on the issue of revenues?