As negotiations over the fiscal cliff continue, one interesting aside is the question of the Americans for Tax Reform pledge. Signatories agree to oppose any measure which would have a net impact of raising taxes (including limiting deductions).
ATR was founded and is lead by Grover Norquist.
The pledge is a mainstay for Republicans; it’s tough to win a primary without having signed it. But for incumbents, the pledge may stay back at the campaign office.
Rep. Pat Meehan made headlines this week his willingness to violate the pledge in the name of a debt deal. Here’s what the rest of the GOP delegation had to say.
Most Republicans seem willing to cap deductions, which violates the pledge, but oppose raising tax rates as President Obama insists.
Sen. Pat Toomey: sticking with the pledge by closing loopholes but also lowering rates.
“If we’re gonna have to have some kind of revenue increase, which this President seems determined to do,” Toomey said on CNN this week. “I would hope we could at least do it in a way that does the least economic harm. That means lower marginal rates, reform the tax code, offset the lost revenue by reducing deductions, write-offs and loopholes.”
PA-3. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Butler): sticking with the pledge.
“Rep. Kelly is committed to raising revenues through comprehensive tax and government reform that works to spur growth, create certainty, and reduce our nation’s trillion dollar deficits. We do not have to raise tax rates to raise revenues. Mr. Kelly has been very clear about his position on this and, for two elections in a row now, his constituents have elected him to represent that position,” said spokeswoman Julia Thornton.
PA-5. Rep. GT Thompson (R-Centre): willing to hedge.
Rep. Thompson was entrusted by voters of Pennsylvania’s 5th District to represent them in Washington, primarily because of a shared concern over potential tax increases and the threat of our escalating national debt,” said spokesman Parish Braden. “The pledge the Congressman plans to stand by is the one he made to his constituents to represent these interests in Washington.”
PA-6. Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Chester): district over pledge.
“While the media focuses on pledges, the families and employers in my district are focused on finding solutions for creating jobs. I have supported a common sense approach to averting the so-called fiscal cliff that would end decades of reckless Washington spending and would generate additional revenue by modernizing and simplifying a tax code that is stifling growth and discouraging job creation.
“The most important pledge that I have made has been to reflect the views of the approximately 700,000 people who entrusted me to represent this District in the U.S. House of Representatives. That is always my guiding principle when making decisions on how to deal with tax policy and every single issue that Comes before the House.”
PA-7. Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Delaware): district over pledge.
From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
“The most important pledge is the one I make to my constituents when I’m sworn in,” Meehan said in a statement. “I’m going to do the very best I can to avoid the fiscal cliff and keep our economy strong.”
PA-8. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks): didn’t respond to request for comment.
PA-9. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Clair): didn’t respond to request for comment.
PA-10. Rep. Tom Marino (R-Lycoming): no pledge, no problem.
“Nothing locks me into anything,” Marino repeatedly and vociferously insisted when confronted by a protester/tracker with a video camera about the pledge in October. And according to the Wayne Independent, “Marino was part of an extensive interview in August and suggested that he would be open to raising taxes on the top 1 or 2 percent of wage earners if that money went to reduce the deficit and cut spending.”
PA-11. Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Luzerne): willing to hedge on deductions.
“This isn’t a matter of raising taxes, it’s a matter of raising revenue. We can raise revenue by limiting deductions and closing loopholes that big corporations and the rich use. Raising taxes as the president wants would pay for about eight days of spending in Washington, so we need a combination of cutting spending and bringing in revenue.”
PA-15. Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Lehigh): pledge schmedge.
During an appearance on PCN, Dent said he’d support limiting deductions.
“I am prepared to accept additional revenue,” he said. “I take really one oath, and that is to protect, to uphold the Constitution. That’s my oath and that’s the one I take most seriously. Again, that was signed back in 2004 and a lot has occurred since then so I would argue that I am going to do what’s right for the people of this country and the people of my district.”
PA-16. Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Chester): didn’t respond to request for comment.
PA-18. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Allegheny): Obama made the pledge question moot.
“The media is obssessing over the No Tax Pledge but the issues surrounding the so-called fiscal cliff aren’t just about supporting the President’s tax hikes,” said Chief of Staff Susan Mosychuk. “Look at all the other details in his latest offer: billions in new stimulus spending while putting off spending cuts for a full year, plus it gives the White House the authority to increase the debt limit without congressional approval. I can’t imagine a single Republican – or frankly even certain Democrats – that would support the President’s plan.”
PA-19. Rep. Todd Platts (R-York): didn’t sign the pledge.