By Alexander Bolton - 11/15/11 03:15 PM EST
Grover Norquist, a leading anti-tax activist, says Republican leaders in both chambers have assured him that they will not agree to tax increases to reduce the deficit.
Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, has not taken a position against a GOP proposal to raise $300 billion in new net tax increases because he believes it’s a negotiating position, and not real.
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), a member of the deficit-reduction supercommittee, last week proposed an ambitious plan to lower income tax rates and eliminate deductions. It would raise tax revenues by a net $300 billion, an apparent violation of Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge.
After speaking to GOP leaders in both chambers, Norquist is confident the proposal won’t have legs.
He warned Republicans would not capture the Senate and would risk losing the House if they agreed to a deficit-reduction package that increased the net level of taxation.
“If Republicans raise taxes now, they don’t win the Senate, and if Republicans raise taxes now they might not keep the House,” he said. “It’s the only way to lose the House.”
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has downplayed Norquist’s influence in the debate over raising taxes.
At a press conference earlier this month, Boehner called Norquist “some random person” when asked about his weight in deficit talks.
“Our conference is opposed to tax hikes because we believe that tax hikes will hurt our economy and put Americans out of work,” Boehner told reporters on Nov. 3.