Jan. 28, 2015 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Timothy Johnson Says He’s Not Bound by Anti-Tax Pledge

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo

As I recall, and again, this was something 10 and a half years ago, the wording was, I wont vote for any marginal rate increases and so forth. Presumably, most Members of Congress plan to be there more than one cycle. So nobody could lock themselves in perpetuity into a position like that. Thats like saying youd never vote for armed intervention in a foreign country, until we get attacked.

He also noted he hadnt voted to raise taxes and had no immediate plans to do so.

Im not saying Im even committed now to a tax increase, but I think anybody who doesnt indicate their willingness to look at revenues expiration of tax loopholes, tax credits, increase in contribution to Social Security, which is a tax, and otherwise would be disingenuous and irresponsible, Johnson said.

Norquist had a different view. This doesnt pass the laugh test, he said, describing the pledge as a simple declarative statement that inherently applies as long as youre in Congress.

Norquist said the pledge originated as a way for lawmakers to credibly promise to voters that they wouldnt raise taxes and wasnt just a temporary stance to get them through a difficult re-election.

Johnson said his position now wasnt related to his new, more Democratic district. And he said signing it in 2002 wasnt related to that upcoming primary election because no one challenged him in the primary.

Also, Johnson said, 2002 is a long time ago. Ten and a half years ago, thats a long time. Thats 20 percent of my life!

Finally, he described being inundated with requests for stances on positions from interest groups during a campaign.

You dont know, I guess youre not on this end of receiving it, but when youre a candidate for office, particularly the United States Congress, we probably get, I dont know how to estimate, but 400 to 500 questionnaires, pledges, statements and so forth on an endless variety of issues that come to us all the time, Johnson said.

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