Chandler regrets signing Norquist's tax pledge; says tax cuts crucial for workers, not rich

12/21/2011 07:53 AM

Seven of Kentucky’s eight members of the congressional delegation signed the Americans for Tax Reform “no tax” pledge that they have found they now can’t get out of.

U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler of Versailles, the only Democrat in that group to sign, now says signing that pledge that is monitored by Grover Norquist was one of the biggest mistakes of his congressional career.

“I’m sorry I did that, too,” Chandler said just before the 6:00 of the interview video. “I thought I was doing it for one session. And he made a determination that you do it forever. And I don’t think anybody ought to make a pledge like that forever.”

Chandler’s fellow Kentuckian, Republican Congressman and U.S. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers expressed a similar view on Pure Politics last month.

The issue is sure to come up next year, as Congress must take up whether to extend the Bush-era tax cuts and as Chandler is up for re-election again. Norquist’s group spent money on ads against Chandler in 2010.

Chandler said Republicans want to have it both ways — that some of them have been reluctant to extend the payroll tax cuts because it directly funds Social Security. At the same time, Republicans have been nearly unified in resisting additional taxes on the wealthiest Americans as Democrats have proposed.

“What the Republicans really want to do is they just want to starve government of money, I think,” Chandler said (4:00 mark). “The record will show that they want to get money in the hands of the wealthy people and they think when they get the money it will trickle down to the rest of us.”

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He is now pursuing an advanced degree in non-fiction writing from Murray State University and is a regular contributor to Pure Politics. Ryan has covered politics for more than 14 years, including seven years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Ryan can be reached at purepolitics@twcable.com or @mycn2 on Twitter.

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