Grover Norquist Anti-Tax Pledge Signers Want Their Names Removed
A growing number of House lawmakers want out of an Americans For Tax Reform President Grover Norquist's pledge in which they vowed to never raise taxes.
The website still lists members who signed the pledge years, or even more than a decade, ago.
"My driver's license expires. The milk in my refrigerator expires. My gym membership expires, and I find the website to be a little deceptive," Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio) said, according to The Hill. The representative's name is still listed on the website as signing the pledge, though he last signed in 1994.
Rep. Robert Andrews (D-N.J.) told The Hill that he signed the pledge in 1992 and wants out. "I'm married to Camille Andrews, not Grover Norquist. I promised her to be faithful until death do us part, and I mean it. I did not promise him to oppose tax increases until death do us part," he said. Several other House members said that they wanted out from the pledge, often when they had refused to sign the pledge again before their re-election campaigns.
Norquist told The Hill that his pledges don't have time limits and stressed that the pledges were for the candidates' constituents, not to him or his organization. He told Politico that the pledge and the tax issue were powerful but he was not.
Politico reported Wednesday that Norquist's lobbying reach extends beyond taxes, to issues such as approving the controversial Keystone XL pipeline and opposing internet regulations designed to prevent online child pornography.
Norquist's pledge is often blamed for the deadlock in the Congressional super committee created to reduce the deficit. All six Republicans on the committee have signed Norquist's pledge not to raise taxes. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday, "The difficulty we find is that every one of these discussions, Grover Norquist seems to be in the room." Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) recently claimed Republicans were afraid of Norquist.
Reid recently said Republicans were "being led like puppets" by Norquist. "They're giving speeches that we should compromise on our deficit, but never do they compromise on Grover Norquist. He is their leader," he said.
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio), however, recently referred to Norquist as "some random person" when asked whether he was a positive influence on Republican lawmakers.
Other Republicans have tied Norquist to the difficulty of changing the tax code. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) criticized Norquist in a recent speech on the House floor. "Everything must be on the table, and I believe how the pledge is interpreted and enforced by Mr. Norquist is a roadblock to realistically reforming our tax code," he said, adding that he didn't support raising taxes.