Anti-tax zealot Grover Norquist, the president of Americans For Tax Reform and author of the radical anti-tax pledge that has played a significant role in hamstringing budget and deficit-reduction negotiations, has said that it is unacceptable for those who have signed his pledge to vote in favor of any tax increase. But now that President Obama and congressional Democrats are backing a tax cut aimed at stimulating economic growth, Norquist has changed his tune.
Norquist met with Republican members today to let them know that opposing the extension of the payroll tax cut — which would provide many families an extra $1,000 a year — would not amount to supporting a tax increase, National Journal’s Billy House reported today:
That stands in contrast, however, to Norquist’s position on tax cuts for the wealthy. Norquist has repeatedly warned GOP members about voting in favor of repealing the Bush tax cuts for the rich or tax hikes on millionaires, even verbally sparring with a member of a group of millionaires advocating for higher taxes on themselves last month in Washington, D.C. And yet, when it comes to tax cuts for the middle class meant to drive economic recovery, Norquist clearly takes a different stance.
Republicans who have defended those tax breaks for the wealthy aren’t so sure about holding the Norquist position, though. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) warned his rank and file this morning about opposing the extension, telling them that “taxes are a Republican issue and you aren’t a Republican if you want to raise taxes on struggling families to fund bigger government.” Multiple Republican senators, meanwhile, have come out in favor of the extension, and Sen. Sue Collins (R-ME) even proposed raising taxes on some wealthy Americans to pay for it.