Grover Norquest has been getting politicians to “take the pledge” ever since 1986. Here is what they agree to.
Taxpayer Protection Pledge
I, _____, pledge to the taxpayers of the (____
district of the) state of ______ and to the American
people that I will: ONE, oppose any and all efforts
to increase the marginal income tax rate for
individuals and business; and TWO, oppose any
net reduction or elimination of deductions and
credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further
reducing tax rates.
Here is the list of those who have taken it.
We are now hearing about defectors in this lame-duck session.
Norquist’s advocacy group, Americans for Tax Reform, lists 238 House signers of its Taxpayer Protection Pledge, but several House Republicans, and at least one Democrat, now say the anti-tax group is being deceptive and want their names taken off the list.
“I haven’t signed it since 1994,” Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio) said, explaining that he didn’t even remember endorsing the pledge until Americans for Tax Reform produced the original document earlier this year.
In its publicly displayed list of signers “in the 112th Congress,” Norquist’s group includes several members who say they have specifically refused to sign the pledge during their most recent campaigns.
The sheet of paper they signed years ago, the lawmakers say, is no longer valid.
Norquist says it’s not true.
We are going to find out between now and January 1.
The pledge, which Norquist launched in 1986, has taken on added significance as the congressional “supercommittee” on deficit reduction nears its deadline for finding at least $1.2 trillion in budget savings over 10 years. Democrats are insisting on new tax revenues, but the pledge mandates that any tax changes be revenue-neutral. They blame the pledge for the impasse in the talks.
“The difficulty we find is that every one of these discussions, Grover Norquist seems to be in the room,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters Tuesday. “I am hopeful that the Republicans on the supercommittee will break away from this.”
Reid’s comments came as GOP panel members offered to raise tax revenue by limiting deductions in exchange for lowering rates, in what aides characterized as a significant concession in the negotiations. Democrats panned the offer, saying the new revenue would be erased by extending Bush-era tax rates. Norquist, meanwhile, derided it in a Twitter post as an “idiot idea” reminiscent of the Alternative Minimum Tax.
All but six House Republicans are listed as signers of Norquist’s pledge, meaning that a voting majority of the body is on record opposing tax increases. Forty GOP senators and one Democratic senator have signed it.
The threat of a fiscal cliff is growing. Some Republicans will be tempted to work out a deal with Obama. If the deal involves cutting “loopholes,” that is a tax hike.
There will be tax hikes because Bush’s tax cuts will expire. One way or another, there will be tax hikes. The question is: On which taxpayers?