Norquist Aims Criticism at Mike Enzi
Conservative activist Grover Norquist says U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi will have to be accountable to the people of Wyoming if he backs off a pledge to not raise taxes.
Enzi said Thursday he will abide by his oath of office but won't sign or be bound by any lawmaker pledges, including the Americans for Tax Reform pledge championed by Norquist. Enzi signed the pledge during his first Senate campaign in 1996.
The pledge calls for opposing increases to marginal income tax rates and to oppose any net cuts to tax deductions or credits unless the moves are offset by reduced tax rates.
Norquist says Enzi promised the people of Wyoming he wouldn't raise their taxes, and he says if the Republican wants to change his mind, "he has to tell them."
The pledge is getting new attention while lawmakers and President Barack Obama try to address the budget deficit. Steep tax increases and budget cuts will automatically take effect next year if they don't agree to more moderate measures.
Obama favors higher taxes for the highest incomes. Enzi says he won't commit to any approach unless it's part of specific legislation that is headed to a vote.
A recent University of Wyoming survey said that, although a majority of Wyoming voters cast ballots for Mitt Romney, 56% of respondents would support a similar tax increase.
Norquist was recently the target of frank criticism from former Wyoming Republican Senator Alan Simpson, those remarks are available here: