Possibility of higher taxes on rich puts Florida 'Pledge' signers in bind
As posturing continues today in the fiscal cliff negotiations, it remains likely that President Obama will get what he wants: higher taxes on the wealthy. If it comes to that, expect Republicans to find a way to argue they haven't broken their vow to Grover Norquist.
For example, Rep. Dennis Ross of Lakeland told his hometown paper that letting the Bush-era tax cuts expire would not be a violation because the rates would just go back to where they had been. But Ross quickly added that he is against raising taxes of any kind.
Sen. Marco Rubio, feeling out a 2016 run for president, is striking a harder line against taxes but also trying not seem as beholden to Norquist, or protective of the rich. "It isn't about a pledge," he said in a speech Tuesday. "It isn't about protecting millionaires and billionaires. For me, it's about the fact that the tax increases he (the president) wants would fail to make even a small dent in the debt but would hurt middle-class businesses and the people who work for them."
As the list at left shows, every current Republican member of the Florida delegation has signed the pledge. Newly elected Republicans also signed it -- with the exception of Ted Yoho, the Gainesville horse doctor turn tea partier who took out a sleepy Cliff Stearns. Yoho says the only pledge he made is to his constituents, to serve only eight years. He says revenue is not the problem, spending is, but also seems open to higher taxes as part of a broad debt cutting deal.
Rep. Rich Nugent signed the pledge two years ago but not this time, though Norquist's group shows him as doing so. Still, like Ross, he says he's against raising taxes.