A defection on Thursday from Grover Norquist’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” by Saxby Chambliss, the senior Republican Senator from Georgia, triggered similar defections over the weekend. It also triggered a strong response from Norquist.
Said Chambliss: “I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old-pledge. If we do it his way then we’ll continue in debt, and I just have a disagreement with him about that.”
The pledge that Chambliss is breaking states:
One, [I will] oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and
Two, [I will] oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.
This reflects the philosophy of Norquist and the organization he founded in 1985, Americans for Tax Reform, that “opposes all tax increases as a matter of principle.” Norquist explained why the pledge was necessary, and why it grew in importance so much so that in the 112th Congress, all but six of the 242 Republicans in the House and all but seven Republicans in the Senate signed it, in an article in Human Events in June 2010:
Raising taxes is what politicians do when they don’t have the strength to actually govern.
The taxpayer protection pledge was created in 1986 by Americans for Tax Reform as part of the effort to protect the lower marginal tax rates of Reagan’s Tax Reform Act of 1986.
It has grown in importance as one of the few black-and-white, yes or no, answers that politicians are forced to give to voters before they ask for their vote.
When Senator Chambliss bailed on his pledge, Norquist took him to task:
Click here to read the entire article.
Photo of Saxby Chambliss: AP Images