By Meghashyam Mali - 11/21/11 01:21 PM EST
Activist Grover Norquist pushed back on Monday at Democratic claims that his anti-tax pledge contributed to the failure of the deficit supercommitee to reach an agreement.
Norquist said Democrats were unwilling to rein in spending and that Republican lawmakers were not "fooled" into raising taxes.
"They could have come to an agreement, but the Democrats want to raise taxes rather than cut spending," Norquist said on “Fox and Friends." "The Republicans said no to new taxes, we need to have spending restraint ... and the Democrats said, 'Let's blow the whole thing up.'
The deficit-reduction supercommittee is expected to announce on Monday that it was unable to achieve its mandate of finding $1.2 trillion in cuts. As negotiations have deadlocked, Democrats have increasingly pointed to Norquist's pledge against tax increases, which has been signed by most Republican lawmakers, as blocking efforts to forge a deficit-cutting deal.
On Sunday, Democratic supercommittee Co-Chairwoman Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said GOP members were too "enthralled" by their pledge to Norquist to negotiate in good faith.
On NBC's "Meet the Press," supercommittee member Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) blasted Norquist’s pledge. "I hear about this pledge — a pledge to a lobbyist that gets in the way of us living up to that sacrifice," he said. "I took a pledge. My pledge is to the Constitution of the United States."
"I think Sen. Kerry was actually trying to come up with some proposal that would work and Reid wouldn’t let him do that," claimed Norquist on Monday.
He suggested that attacks on his anti-tax pledge were an attempt to distract voters from the Democrats' unpopular record on taxes.
"What they are upset about is the modern Republican Party has become, since Ronald Reagan, the party that will not raise your taxes," he said.
"Republicans will not be fooled to raise taxes," Norquist added.
He said the supercommittee negotiations had sent a clear message to voters. "If you think we should have higher taxes, vote for the Democrat," he said.