As the fiscal cliff looms, a growing number of Republican lawmakers are abandoning their pledge to the American people NOT to raise taxes.
It was reported last week that Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) broke from his conservative colleagues when he stated on WMAZ-TV, "I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge."
Chambliss was referring to the Taxpayer Protection Pledge created by Grover Norquist at Americans for Tax Reform. The pledge asks candidates and incumbents to bind themselves to oppose any and all tax increases.
The promise, made to the American people states the following:
1. Oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and
2. Oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.
Rep. Peter King (R-NY) joined Chambliss in renouncing the pledge he took, telling NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday:
"A pledge you signed 20 years ago, 18 years ago, is for that Congress. For instance, if I were in Congress in 1941, I would have signed a... declaration of war against Japan. I'm not going to attack Japan today. The world has changed. And the economic situation is different."
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) also said on ABC's "This Week" that he is ready to violate the anti-tax pledge:
"I will violate the pledge, long story short, for the good of the country. When you're $16 trillion in debt, the only pledge we should be making to each other is to avoid becoming Greece."
Former GOP Presidential candidate and Arizona Senator, John McCain hinted on "Fox News Sunday" that he is also open to violating the pledge. McCain told host Chris Wallace that while he was strictly against raising marginal tax rates, "[W]e can close a lot of loopholes." He identified the deduction on charitable giving and the home-mortgage deduction, specifically.
Even Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-OH) has said that he is willing to accept "more revenue" as part of a fiscal cliff deal. In a statement given the day after the reelection of Barack Obama, Boehner said, Republicans are willing to accept "new revenue, under the right conditions" to reach a bipartisan agreement.
The question now is: Will the Republicans who took this pledge honor their commitment to the American people, or will they surrender their promise under the guise of doing what is "for the good of the country?"
To quote an ancient Chinese proverb: "In a broken nest, there are few whole eggs."
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