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Some GOP back down from Norquist's tax pledge

More Republicans are say they are willing to violate the no-tax pledge to avoid the fiscal cliff.

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Grover Norquist, head of the Americans for Tax Reform advocacy group, speaks at a session entitled "Scrap the Code: Towards Pro-Growth Tax Reform" at the conservative Americans for Prosperity (AFP) "Defending the American Dream Summit" in Washington on November 5, 2011. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (NICHOLAS KAMM /AFP/Getty Images)

A growing number of influential Republican members of Congress have said they are willing to violate a long standing pledge not to raise taxes. 

President Obama has been calling on Republicans to come to an agreement on a package of spending cuts and tax increases to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff". A 20-year-old pledge written by conservative icon Grover Norquist and signed by the vast majority of Congress has been standing in the way of an agreement. 

In the past few days, the number of representatives who’ve said they're willing to consider tax increases includes Rep. Peter King (R-NY), Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.). Sen. Saxby Chambliss, (R-Ga.), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.).

"The only pledge we should be making to each other is to avoid becoming Greece. And Republicans should put revenue on the table," South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said on ABC's "This Week."

Sen. Grahams said he is willing to violate the pledge in exchange for reforms to Social Security and Medicare. 

Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss also said he's ready to move on from the pledge.

“I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge,” he told Georgia TV station 13WMAZ. “If we do it [Norquist's] way then we’ll continue in debt, and I just have a disagreement with him about that.”

On Sunday, House member Peter King, a conservative Republican from New York, agreed. 

“A pledge you signed 20 years ago, 18 years ago, is for that Congress,” he said on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”

“For instance, if I were in Congress in 1941, I would have supported a declaration of war against Japan. I’m not going to attack Japan today. 

"I, myself, am opposed to tax increases,” he said. “The fact is the speaker and the majority leader and the president are gonna be in a room, trying to find the best package. I’m not gonna prejudge it. And I’m just saying we should not be taking iron clad positions.”

Even House Majority Leader Eric Cantor seemed to agree that the need to raise revenue might trump the no-tax pledge.

"When I go to the constituents that have elected me, it is not about that pledge. It's really about trying to solve problems," Cantor said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Monday.

"[House Speaker John] Boehner went to the White House 10 days ago and said Republicans are willing to put revenues on the table . . .. And we said we're willing to do that to fix problems, to respond to the electorate that re-elected this president," Cantor said. 

Despite the growing list of Republicans abandoning his pledge, Norquist told ABC News that he's not concerned.

"The people who have made a commitment to their constituents are largely keeping it," he said. "The fact is there is more support for both protecting the rates, you saw the Republican leader in the house say rates are non-negotiable, and he also talked about revenue coming from growth."

Billionaire Warren Buffet also renewed his call for higher taxes on the wealthy in a letter to the New York Times on Sunday. Buffet said the "ultrarich" like himself won't flee the country or stop investing if capital gains taxes are raised. 

“Let’s forget about the rich and ultrarich going on strike and stuffing their ample funds under their mattresses if — gasp — capital gains rates and ordinary income rates are increased,” Buffett said. “The ultrarich, including me, will forever pursue investment opportunities.”

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/121126/some-gop-back-down-norquists-tax-pledge