So it looks like we have a renewal of last year’s sniping between U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss and Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform and originator of the no-tax-increase pledge that many Republicans – Chambliss among them – say will only aggravate a $16 trillion federal deficit.
Given the dearth of news on Thanksgiving Day, Chambliss’ comments on Norquist and his pledge, made to WMAZ in Macon, drew an inordinate amount of attention. 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.”
That kind of rebellious chatter could have an impact on negotiations between President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans that are set to begin in earnest on Monday. Late Friday, Norquist sent us this lengthy response:
Senator Chambliss promised the people of Georgia he would go to Washington and reform government rather than raise taxes to pay for bigger government. He made that commitment in writing to the people of Georgia.
If he plans to vote for higher taxes to pay for Obama-sized government he should address the people of Georgia and let them know that he plans to break his promise to them.
The Senator’s reference to me is odd. His promise is to the people of Georgia.
In February 2011 he wrote an open letter addressed to me when he joined the Gang of Six saying he would not vote for any plan that raised taxes. He would support only tax revenue that resulted from higher growth.
That was a public letter he and co-signers Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn and Idaho Senator Mike Crapo sent to the press to explain their negotiating position as they joined the Gang of Six in early 2011:
Note this excerpt, the final sentence of the letter:
“If and when there is a legislative proposal to be presented to Congress and the American people, we look forward to again working with you and all interested parties to support a proposal where any increase in revenue generation will be the result of the pro-growth effects of lower individual and corporate tax rates for all Americans.”
That is certainly a position I support and the only “plan” that I have endorsed is the Paul Ryan budget that brings the budget to balance and pays down the debt without any tax hikes.
Sen. Chambliss voted for the Ryan plan. I miss his point in trying to attack me.
Raising taxes on the people of Georgia to pay for Obama’s reckless spending is not the right thing to do for America or Georgia. We have a problem because Washington spends too much, not because Sen. Chambliss has failed so far to raise taxes on the hard-working men and women of Georgia.
Sen. Chambliss mentions his fear of losing a primary if he breaks his word to Georgians and votes to raise their taxes. History reminds us that when President George H.W. Bush raised taxes in a deal that promised (and did not deliver) spending cuts he was defeated not in the primary, but in the general.
When Democrat Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska violated his pledge to the American people, he would’ve won a primary battle. But he withdrew because polling showed he could not win a general election having both lied to his state and raised their taxes.
I would urge all Senators to oppose Obama’s budget that raises taxes on the American people and sets the stage for larger taxes in the future on energy that will hit all Americans and raise the cost of living while reducing the number and quality of jobs in America.
I hope and trust that Senator Chambliss will keep his promise to Georgia and not raise taxes on the people of Georgia.
To be fair, in the WMAZ interview, Chambliss didn’t express “his fear” of losing a primary should he discard Norquist’s pledge. But he acknowledged that such an action would likely enlist Norquist on the side of a primary challenger in 2014.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider