Another Republican Distances Himself From Grover Norquist’s Pledge

South Dakota Senator John Thune hinted today that the much-feared ATR tax pledge may be more vulnerable than thought:

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said Wednesday that members of Congress shouldn’t be “bound by” taxpayer pledges, and suggested that such vows would need to be broken in order to achieve broad-based tax reform.

Thune told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd that pledges stood in the way of tax reform.

“We shouldn’t be bound by something that could be interpreted different ways if what we’re trying to accomplish is broad-based tax reform,” Thune said. “I think broad-based tax reform ought to be part of our agenda up here. I hope that outside groups that have pledges in the past will recognize that. It’s important that we do something on tax reform.”

Thune, himself a signatory of Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform pledge to not increase taxes, suggested that those who signed taxpayer pledges should rethink their worth.

“There are going to be lots of people who made pledges in the past about on various tax pledges that have been put out there that are probably going to have to revisit those,” said Thune.

Thune was responding to a question from Todd about the comments that Congressman Frank Wolf made yesterday on the House floor, and his response suggests that there may be more room for broad-based tax reform than some may have thought. Unfortunately, with an election only 13 months away it seems unlikely that we’ll get anything done in that regard.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Deficit and Debt, Taxes, US Politics, , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Nikki says:

    Why did lawmakers decide to let this pledge take precedence in their decision-making to the detriment of everything else? And how come no one wants to call it treason?

  2. James Joyner says:

    Now, this is interesting. Wolf is a moderate conservative in an increasingly purple district. Thune is a rock star among the Tea Party crowd. This could be the beginning of something.

  3. The pledge is just a excuse, specially because they want to hammer Obama on taxes.

  4. Brandonm2 says:

    I don’t know why we are even talking about tax reform right now. Wait until after the 2012 elections. The Republicans will have more members in the House, will certainly control the Senate, and there is a good chance that the President will be Romney or Cain. THEN we can reform entitlements, work on deficit reduction, reform government, and pass comprehensive tax reform from a Republican philisophical perspective hopefully without having to negotiate with an America hating socialist to do any of it.

  5. Zilla says:

    Grover Norquist is behind just about every useful idiot Republican who has parroted the nonsensical meme that ‘islam is a religion of peace’ and he is behind most, possibly all, islamic supremacist stealth jihadis who hold government offices. The anti-jihad movement has been warning about him for years, the guy is bad news. He helped Anwar Al Awaki get access to the Bush administration AFTER 9/11! He supports the Ground Zero victory mosque and jihad recruiting center, he advocated for enemy combatant terrorists to be given the same rights as citizens in civilian trials, he is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. He uses his tax pledge to black mail Republicans and divert attention away from his many seditious activities and heavy corruption.
    You can read about his dirty history of enabling the jihad here:
    Grover Norquist’s Islamic Supremacist Chickens Come Home to Roost

    You can read about his many OTHER corrupt activities here:
    Grover Norquist Exposed On The House Floor