Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulWhite House debates vaccines for air travel Senate lawmakers let frustration show with Blinken Rand Paul: 'Hatred for Trump' blocking research into ivermectin as COVID-19 treatment MORE (Ky.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzO'Rourke prepping run for governor in Texas: report Support for Abbott plunging in Texas: poll White House debates vaccines for air travel MORE (Texas) have become the first two 2016 GOP presidential candidates to sign a pledge promising to oppose or veto any proposal to raise taxes if they win the White House.
The Taxpayer Protection Pledge is maintained by Grover Norquist’s group, Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), and has been signed by the majority of Republicans in Congress. The group says it has shared the pledge with all candidates running for federal office since 1986.
In separate statements, Norquist said their signatures show Paul and Cruz continue “to protect American taxpayers against higher taxes.”
Signing the pledge could help the senators draw a contrast with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is expected to also launch a presidential bid and is considered a leading candidate for the GOP nomination.
Bush has said he won't sign on to a no-taxes pledge.
"If Gov. Bush decides to move forward, he will not sign any pledges circulated by lobbying groups," spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said in a statement in March, according to CNN. "His record on tax cuts is clear. He didn't raise taxes."
Norquist ripped Bush on Twitter after he rebuffed the pledge, noting that this father, President George H.W. Bush, famously broke his ”read my lips” promise against tax hikes before losing reelection in 1992.
"If my Dad threw away a perfectly good presidency I would honor him by learning to avoid that mistake," Norquist tweeted.
Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioMilley says calls to China were 'perfectly within the duties' of his job Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right MORE (R-Fla.) is the only other Republican to officially launch a presidential run.
In the current Congress, 49 senators and 218 members of the House signed the anti-tax pledge. Paul had previously signed it when he ran for Senate in 2010. Cruz signed it when he ran for Senate in 2012, the group said.
In 2012, ATR says every GOP presidential candidate signed the pledge except for former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman.
Paul’s and Cruz’s decisions to sign the pledge come after they’ve voiced support to amend the Constitution to require a balanced budget for the U.S. government.
Their position on taxes also mirrors the budgets proposed by congressional Republicans, which doesn’t raise taxes and instead cuts spending by at least $5 trillion over the next decade.