The Hill’s Bob Cusack discusses Grover Norquist’s tax pledge on ‘Morning Joe’

The Hill Managing Editor Bob Cusack joined MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Tuesday to discuss anti-tax lobbyist Grover Norquist's diminished clout in the new Congress.

Fewer incoming members of the House and Senate have signed on to the pledge, run by Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, to oppose tax increases, with nearly a dozen newly elected House Republicans refusing to sign on during their campaigns.

"That's part of what the GOP is going through, soul-searching, of thinking about the Grover pledge — has it helped them?" Cusack said. "And obviously, now, it's such a different position for Republicans ... now it's more a conciliatory tone, especially with this 'fiscal cliff' and the Grover pledge, Republicans say privately, gets in the way of that."

As reported by The Hill’s Russell Berman on Tuesday, with Democrats picking up seven or eight seats in the House, that means the pledge guides fewer than the 218 members needed for a majority. 

That is likely to have ramifications as lawmakers and the president begin to negotiate a plan to avoid the impending rising tax rates and automatic spending cuts. 

Cusack also discussed the likely shakeup of President Obama's inner circle, as a number of close advisers are expected to leave the White House ahead of a second term.

"The president is going to have a new team, and a lot of people say that's healthy, because second terms, especially recently, they've had some jinxes," said Cusack. "So you want to bring people some fresh people on." 

Sources say David Plouffe, a senior adviser on the president's reelection campaign, is expected to leave to focus on the creation of a new politics institute at the University of Chicago.