Republican Senator Bemoans Influence Of Grover Norquist On Tax Policy

AFTON, Iowa — Though some have questioned the influence that Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge holds over the GOP, a leading Republican senator left no doubts of its influence at a recent town hall.

An Iowa constituent asked Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) on Tuesday about closing a loophole that allows online companies like Amazon to skirt paying sales taxes. Though Grassley declined to take a firm position on the issue, he explained to the man how Norquist’s influence blocks Congress from closing that loophole. “It may not be a tax increase because the states already have the taxes, but there are people in Washington who define what a tax increase is and they seem to have a lot of political power,” Grassley said, implicitly referring to Norquist. “They’ve gotten people not willing to go out and want to be labeled as a tax-increaser even if they aren’t increasing taxes.” Watch it:

Despite Norquist’s influence, some Republicans are joining Democrats and trying to close the Amazon loophole. Currently, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) and a bipartisan group of 56 members of Congress are sponsoring the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013, which would allow states to collect sales taxes on online purchases.