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GOP Senator Says America Should Come Before Any Tax Pledge

by Shawn M. Griffiths, published

Another Republican lawmaker denounced the Grover Norquist pledge to never vote for legislation that would raise taxes on Wednesday. Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) said that as the nation stands at the edge of a fiscal cliff, addressing the problem at hand is more important than honoring a twenty year old pledge.

“If we do it his [Grover Norquist] way then we’ll continue in debt, and I just have a disagreement with him about that,” Sen. Chambliss said during an interview with 13WMAZ, a local television station in Georgia.

The looming “fiscal cliff,” a combination of roughly a trillion dollars in automatic spending reductions and the end of the Bush-era tax cuts for all income brackets, has dominated the national dialogue since the end of the 2012 elections. If leaders in Washington do not reach a compromise on how to avoid this problem that the Congressional Budget Office says will plunge the US back into recession, millions of American households will likely be affected by the consequences.

Sen. Chambliss acknowledged the fact that Norquist and other prominent and resourceful conservative pundits will hold his decision against him when he is up for re-election in 2014, but Chambliss said he is willing to accept the political ramifications of his actions with the knowledge that he did the right thing.

“I don't worry about that because I care too much about my country,” he said. “I care a lot more about it than I do Grover Norquist.”

Political analysts and commentators speculate that Chambliss could face a primary challenge from a number of Republican representatives in the US House. However, the Senator is not alone in ditching the Norquist tax pledge to never, under any circumstances, raise taxes on Americans. Close to a dozen incoming GOP lawmakers have refused to sign the pledge as well.

US House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he was in favor of keeping revenue options on the table, but he does not believe raising taxes on the wealthiest income earners should be one of those options. President Barack Obama and Democrats on Capitol Hill have said the elimination of tax cuts for households earning over $250,000 a year is not negotiable.

While Grover Norquist supports Speaker Boehner’s position on extending tax cuts for top income earners, believing we should consider increasing revenue without increasing taxes, it seems more and more Republicans are calling for all options for generating revenue to be on the table. This isn't the first time Senator Chambliss has expressed the idea that GOP lawmakers should have an open and honest discussion about ways to increase revenue in any deficit reduction package.

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