At issue is Norquist’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which has been signed by Chambliss and nearly every Republican in Congress, promising not to increase tax revenue to the federal government through increased rates or erased deductions. Last week, Chambliss – who has spent the last two years working on a bipartisan debt deal involving spending cuts, entitlement reform and tax revenue – helped renew the debate.
“I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge,” he told a Macon television station.
Chambliss said he was encouraged by Senate colleagues such as South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham and Tennessee’s Bob Corker, who have declared they are willing to discount the Norquist pledge.
He also said that, since the Senate returned from its Thanksgiving break Monday afternoon, he has had plenty more private encouragement.
Georgia’s senior senator remains staunchly against raising income tax rates, as do his colleagues. But there has been a noticeable shift in the GOP’s willingness to add to federal coffers by reducing deductions.
“I can only look at the public comments of some of my colleagues,” Chambliss said. “I think clearly there is an evolving sentiment. We weren’t $17 trillion in debt 20 years ago when I signed that pledge. We’ve got to figure out the right way to get out of debt.”