Rep. Peter King said his wife would take a swing at Grover Norquist if she ever met the anti-tax activist, upping the ante in a running battle over tax policy that has so far been limited to vivid rhetoric.
“The fact that he brought my wife into it – I don’t think he’s ever met me, certainly he’s never met my wife,” King, a New York Republican, said in an interview with POLITICO LIVE on Wednesday. “And he better hope he doesn’t. She’ll knock his head off.”
Norquist had suggested in an interview earlier in the week that King’s willingness to abandon a “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” should worry Rosemary King – a jab that King thought crossed the line. He told Newsday that Norquist was “being a lowlife” by bringing up the Kings’ marriage.
Both men are known in Washington for speaking with color and candor, and they’ve done just that since King said on last Sunday’s “Meet the Press” that he no longer felt bound to Norquist’s oath against raising taxes.
Americans for Tax Reform lists 219 of 435 incoming Representatives and 39 of 100 incoming Senators who have signed Grover's pledge.
Of those 33 Representatives and 12 Senators have renounced their pledge as of 12/6/12. This leaves 186 Representatives and 27 Senators.
16 incoming Republican Representatives and 6 incoming Republican Senators never signed the pledge. 66 incoming Republicans oppose it.
Robert Andrews (NJ-01) - Charles Boustany (LA-03) - Howard Coble (NC-06) - Tom Cole (OK-04) - John Campbell (CA-45) Rick Crawford (AR-01) - Charlie Dent (PA-15) - Scott DesJarlais (TN-04) - Jo Ann Emerson (MO-08) - Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01) Chris Gibson (NY-19) - Kay Granger (TX-12) - Walter Jones (NC-03) - Peter King (NY-02) - John Kline (MN-02) - Tom Latham (IA-03) Buck McKeon (CA-25) - Pat Meehan (PA-07) - Tom Marino (PA-10) - Rich Nugent (FL-11) - Erik Paulsen (MN-03) - Tom Reed (NY-23) Reid Ribble (WI-08) - Scott Rigell (VA-02) - Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48) - Tom Rooney (FL-17) - Dennis Ross (FL-15) - Jon Runyan (NJ-03) John Shimkus (IL-15) - Mike Simpson (ID-02) - Adrian Smith (NE-03) - Lee Terry (NE-02) - Dan Webster (FL-10) Lamar Alexander (TN-SEN) - Kelly Ayotte (NH-SEN) - Saxby Chambliss (GA-SEN) - Tom Coburn (OK-SEN) - Bob Corker (TN-SEN) Mike Crapo (ID-SEN) - Mike Enzi (WY-SEN) - Lindsey Graham (SC-SEN - Mike Johanns (NE-SEN) - John McCain (AZ-SEN) Jeff Sessions (AL-SEN) - David Vitter (LA-SEN)
Americans for Tax Reform lists 238 of 435 outgoing Representatives and 41 of 100 outgoing Senators who have signed Grover's pledge.
Of those 44 Representatives and 13 Senators have renounced their pledge as of 12/6/12. This leaves 194 Representatives and 28 Senators.
6 outgoing Republican Representatives and 7 outgoing Republican Senators never signed the pledge. 67 outgoing Republicans oppose it, 76 total.
Charlie Bass (NH-02) - Ben Chandler (KY-06) - Chip Cravaack (MN-08) - Robert Dold (IL-10) - Jeff Flake (AZ-06) - Nan Hayworth (NY-19) Tim Johnson (IL-15) - Steve LaTourette (OH-14) - Mary Bono Mack (CA-45) - Bob Turner (NY-09) - Allen West (FL-22) Ben Nelson (NE-SEN)
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Norquist has amassed considerable clout over the last couple of decades by managing to get hundreds of Republicans in elective office to sign a controversial pledge vowing never to vote for a tax increase.
But there was growing feeling Sunday that the anti-tax crusader and his pledge were quickly becoming irrelevant as several party bigwigs said they would abandon the vow and analysts openly questioned his continued relevance.
"Grover Norquist is an impediment to good governing," Republican political strategist Matthew Dowd told ABC television's "This Week" program.
"The only good thing about Grover Norquist is, he's named after a character from 'Sesame Street,'" Dowd said.
Republican Rep. Tom Cole urged colleagues in a private session Tuesday to vote to extend the Bush tax rates for all but the highest earners before the end of the year — and to battle over the rest later.
The Oklahoma Republican said in an interview with POLITICO that he believes such a vote would not violate Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge and that he’s not alone within Republican circles.
At a meeting of the House GOP whip team earlier in the day, he made the case that Republicans would strengthen their position by joining hands with President Barack Obama now to give most taxpayers what he calls “an early Christmas present” of ensuring their taxes don’t go up on Jan. 1.
Cole’s position is striking because he’s hardly a “squish” — Norquist’s term for a weak-kneed lawmaker — when it comes to Republican orthodoxy. Cole served as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee and in other official posts within the party.
During a Wednesday morning interview with Politico's Mike Allen, Norquist said he suspected that Cole's suggestion -- that Republicans agree to Obama's request to extend the Bush tax cuts for the middle class while letting cuts for the wealthy expire, and therefore give themselves a stronger bargaining position on a broader debt deal later -- was never meant to be publicly aired.
"Obviously this was leaked," Norquist said of Cole's proposal. "I don't think he intended to have a public conversation."
Allen then interrupted to point out that Cole made his comments, quite openly, to a Politico reporter a day earlier.
"Oh ok, then he meant to, then he meant to get it out," Norquist stumbled. "But by doing that then, um, all he did is have a conversation about other ways to raise taxes. We're trying to figure out how to rein in spending."
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
With about a third of incoming freshman Republicans dodging the pledge, the majority of the Republican House has now either not signed the pledge or disavowed it. But Norquist insists this is not the end.Actually it's down to 214, but then who's counting votes?
"Name another issue that 217 members have in writing stated their position on. And most of the others have made further comments that they're not for raising taxes," says Norquist.
Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, signed the pledge in 1992. That was nearly 20 years ago, a lot has changed since then. But for Norquist, the pledge is forever.
"When you got married did your wife understand there was an expiration date on that promise? When you borrowed money to buy your house did you say, 'Oh geez. That mortgage? That was 10 years ago. You're still asking me for money?' You make a commitment, you make a commitment," says Norquist.
“Republicans in both the House and Senate are deciding they no longer want to be married to this pledge,” Schumer (D-N.Y.) said. “Republicans are saying they want a divorce from Grover Norquist.”
Schumer’s comments came as more Republicans have signaled a willingness to break with Norquist and his organization’s anti-tax-increase pledge as both parties search for a deal that would fend off the looming fiscal cliff. Lawmakers including Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) have indicated that they would be open to deviating from the promise.
“That alone is a leading indicator that the fiscal deal is within reach,” Schumer said, referring to those in the GOP who have distanced themselves from Norquist. “Both sides are still far apart. The discussions over the next few weeks will be difficult. But with each new Republican disavowing Grover Norquist, the chances of a deal rises sharply.”
Most congressional Republicans have signed the pledge, first offered in 1986 by Norquist’s group, Americans for Tax Reform.