MINNEAPOLIS - GOP lawmakers are beginning to back off a longstanding pledge many signed not to raise taxes.
Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) was first to defy the pledge over the Thanksgiving holiday saying, "I care more about this country than a do a 20 year pledge."
He has been followed by at least two other GOP senators, Bob Corker of Tennessee and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
"I will violate the pledge, long story short, for the good of the country only if Democrats will do entitlement reform," said Sen. Graham.
Democrats have signaled an increasing willingness to compromise on entitlements as part of a grand bargain to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff set to take effect January 1st, 2013. Automatic tax increases are set to take effect at the same time as massive government spending cuts which economists warn will likely lead to another recession.
The anti-tax pledge has been spearheaded by conservative activist Grover Norquist who fired back against detractors in an interview with CNN.
"No pledge taker has voted for a tax increase. You've had some people discussing impure thoughts on national television," said Norquist who is vowing to work against detractors in re-election campaigns if they don't comply.
So far in Minnesota, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is the only one still outwardly supporting the pledge.
The states other three GOP congressmen have all signed it but didn't mention the pledge specifically when asked by KARE 11 Monday.
Responses from their offices are as follows:
- Rep. Chip Cravaak: "Congressman Cravaack is supportive of raising federal revenues by eliminating special interest loopholes and expanding natural resource development. He does not support raising taxes on small businesses to the detriment of the economy."
- Rep. John Kline: "Congressman Kline supports a commonsense bipartisan plan that reforms the tax code by eliminating special interest loopholes and cutting spending, but he continues to oppose any plan that raises tax rates because it would hurt our economy and cripple what already has been the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression.
- Rep. Erik Paulsen: "We can't let partisanship get in the way of real, long term solutions to what has really become a 'jobs cliff'. The recipe for averting the fiscal cliff is simple: we must reform our out-of-date tax code to eliminate special-interest loopholes and deductions, we must work to protect and preserve vital programs such as Medicare, and we need to address our out-of-control debt with much-needed spending cuts."
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