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article imageGOP Senator: 'I care more about my country' than Norquist

By Greta McClain     Nov 25, 2012 in Politics
A Republican senator is breaking the anti-tax pledge he signed years ago, as well as breaking his silence, publicly criticizing Grover Norquist
Earlier this week Sen. Saxby Chambliss, a Republican from Georgia, said he is willing to break the Norquist anti-tax pledge he signed some 20 years ago in order to work towards solving the fiscal concerns facing the United States.
Chambliss told WMAZ:
"I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge. If we do it his {Norquist} way then we'll continue in debt, and I just have a disagreement with him about that."
Chambliss, who is a member of the new "Gang of Eight", is working towards a bipartisan agreement for reducing the country's deficit, even if it means considering a tax increase on wealthy Americans as part of any proposed deal. He admits that his actions may have consequences politically, but it is a chance he is willing to take if it means doing "the right thing", saying:
"But 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. Norquist has no plan to pay this debt down. His plan says you continue to add to the debt, and I just have a fundamental disagreement about that and I'm willing to do the right thing and let the political consequences take care of themselves."
Grover Norquist s Taxpayer Protection Pledge
Grover Norquist's Taxpayer Protection Pledge
Independent Voter
Norquist estimates that 219 House members and 39 senators have committed to the pledge. However, other Republicans are following Chamliss' lead and backing away from the pledge, leaving Norquist several votes shy of the majority needed to block any proposed tax increase.
Representative Peter T. King, a Republican from New York, told the New York Times:
“A pledge is good at the time you sign it. 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.”
Norquist stands by the pledge, saying that his anti-tax movement is as strong as ever, even with some Republicans abandoning the pledge. He also said be believed that House Republicans could withstand the pressure from President Obama and the Democrats to raise taxes. He suggested using the debt ceiling and spending cuts as "leverage" against the President, saying:
"The debt limit is an additional tool to explain to Obama that he is not the king. He has to go to Congress for resources."
Republicans appear to be more willing to work for a compromise however, especially in light of the losses suffered by many incumbent GOP lawmakers. A recent Gallop poll also showed that 56 percent of Americans are in favor of the idea to reduce the deficit by both budget cuts and a tax increase, or by mostly raising taxes.
Alan Simpson, a former Republican Senator and co-chairman of the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction commission, is hoping more Republicans begin to think as Chambliss does, telling the Huffington Post:
"What can Grover (Norquist) do to you? He can't murder you. He can't burn your house."
More about Gop, Republicans, Sen Saxby Chambliss, Taxes, fiscal cliff
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