Boehner calls anti-tax activist 'random person'

November 3, 2011 - 11:15 AM
House Republicans

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011, following a Republican strategy session. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker John Boehner (BAY'-nuhr) has sidestepped a question about whether anti-tax activist Grover Norquist is a positive influence on Republican lawmakers.

The Ohio Republican responded to the query by saying he's not often asked about "some random person in America."

The conservative Norquist has become a major factor in Washington by getting many members of Congress — including nearly all Republicans — to sign a pledge promising to oppose and vote against tax increases.

The adamant opposition to higher taxes among many Republicans is one reason why Congress' special debt-cutting "supercommittee" has been unable so far to reach a compromise on mopping up red ink.

Boehner said that Republicans oppose tax increases because they weaken the economy and throw Americans out of work.