Boehner on Norquist Pledge: He ‘Opposes Tax Rate Hikes’

by Katrina Trinko

In recent days, several Republicans — Senators Saxby Chambliss, Bob Corker, Lindsey Graham, and Representative Peter King — have announced they don’t feel obliged to follow the Americans for Tax Reform pledge.

But John Boehner, at least for now, isn’t publicly announcing he feels free to disregard the pledge. Asked about whether Boehner viewed it as “non-negotiable” that any deal to avert the fiscal cliff not raise taxes overall, Boehner spokesman Michael Steel e-mails, “Speaker Boehner opposes tax rate hikes because they hurt our economy and cost jobs.”

But there has been plenty of chatter about changing the tax code in such a way that more revenues are generated, not from economic growth, but from changes in deductions. Norquist told me earlier this month that any changes to the tax code that resulted in more revenue (unless that revenue was generated from economic growth caused by the changes in tax code) would violate the pledge.

It’s not clear that Boehner, however, is on the same page.

“There is a huge difference between increasing tax rates — which costs jobs — and increasing tax revenue through tax reform,” says a Boehner aide.

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