By Teresa Welsh |
For some two and a half decades, the Taxpayer Protection Pledge sponsored by Grover Norquist and his organization Americans for Tax Reform has carried a heavy influence in Washington. A vast number of Republicans including 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney have signed the pledge, vowing not to raise marginal income tax rates for individuals and businesses. Out of the current congressional Republicans, only six senators and four representatives have not signed the pledge.
But the reign of Norquist and his pledge may be coming to an end, as some GOP politicians distance themselves from the promise. Facing tough budget negotiations with the White House and Democratic legislators to avert the fiscal cliff—a series of tax cut expirations and spending cuts scheduled to go into effect beginning in January—some Hill Republicans have expressed a willingness to break the pledge to bring in more revenue. Heavy hitters Sens. Lindsay Graham and John McCain said they would be willing to raise taxes on the richest Americans to work out a budget deal, as did Reps. Peter King and Tom Cole; a number of incoming Republican freshmen have also refused to sign the pledge.
Nevertheless, top Republican John Boehner, the speaker of the House, has stood firm in his insistence that taxes should not be raised—even on the top 2 percent income earners as has been proposed—to solve the budget crisis. Other pundits have noted that even if Republicans and Democratic legislators do end up agreeing to raising taxes, Norquist's pledge makes it at a high political price that may cost some vulnerable GOP congressmen their seats in the 2014 election.
Is Grover Norquist's tax pledge losing its effectiveness? Here is the Debate Club's take:
Pete Sepp Executive Vice President of the National Taxpayers Union
Judson Phillips Founder of Tea Party Nation
Richard Rahn Senior Fellow of the Cato Institute
Penny Lee Democratic Strategist