Republican senators looking to cut a deficit reduction deal with Democratic colleagues and President Obama are going to get no help from anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist.
Norquist, a longtime conservative activist who wants to shrink the size of the federal government, wasn’t happy last year when Republican Sens.Michael D. Crapo of Idaho and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, both of whom had signed an anti-tax pledge for Norquist’s group Americans for Tax Reform, agreed to a special commission’s plan to slash the federal deficit by $4 trillion over 10 years by, in part, raising taxes.
Norquist says they have since assured him they were not really serious about raising taxes.
So now Norquist has warned Coburn and Crapo, along with another pledge-signer in the Senate, Georgia RepublicanSaxby Chambliss , that he’s alarmed to see them teaming up with Democrats on a possible deficit bill this year.
The three have been huddling with two Democratic colleagues who haven’t signed the pledge — Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the majority whip, and Kent Conrad of North Dakota, chairman of the Budget Committee — on a deal that would reportedly eliminate popular tax deductions as part of a broader tax code overhaul.
Norquist warned the three in a letter two weeks ago that any deal to raise taxes would violate the pledge.
Instead of working on a bipartisan deal, Norquist thinks, the Republican senators should follow the lead of their House counterparts and introduce their own plan, then encourage Democrats to get on board.