Georgia's senior senator reached across the aisle months ago to try to find a compromise to the nation's deficit problems, working with the so-called Gang of Six.
Now, with politicians and officials predicting a "fiscal cliff" by January with the expiration of tax cuts and scheduled steep cuts to defense spending, among others, Saxby Chambliss's willingness to work with Democrats has many Republican Party faithful crying foul.
This week, Atlanta Tea Party Patriots leaders said they were disappointed in Chambliss' recent statement about times changing since he made a 20-year-old pledge to never raise taxes to Grover Norquist, the founder of Americans for Tax Reform.
"This is not about Grover Norquist. The pledge was to the citizens of Georgia and we strongly encourage him to continue to honor it and a commitment to a smaller federal government," said Julianne Thompson and Debbie Dooley in a statement.
"We understand the dire situation we are facing as a nation, but we did not get into this economic crisis by giving tax deductions, or by cutting the tax rate," the Gwinnett women said. "We are in this situation because of a bloated federal government spending out of control. And now, instead of concentrating on solving the problems that got us into this situation, many in Washington want to punish the American people with higher tax rates instead of taking responsibility for what got us here in the first place."
After a big hubub, Chambliss said he stands by the comments, but that isn't the entire story. He is looking for compromise.
"I stand by my previous comments about the Americans for Tax Reform pledge -- I care more about my country than any pledge to a special interest. However, this does not mean that I am in favor of raising taxes," Chambliss said Wednesday. "I have consistently stated that, due to my conservative principles, I am not in favor of tax increases. Further, I will continue to seek significant tax reform that lowers tax rates and generates additional revenues. I believe those reforms should be on the table in this debt and deficit debate. However, this would only be acceptable in return for entitlement reforms from the other side that truly fix our long-term spending problem."
Thompson and Dooley said they want to talk with Chambliss about the situation.
"We thank him for the great leadership he is showing with regard to the Benghazi investigation and hearings, and we encourage him to continue to work for the people of Georgia with the same strong leadership regarding our economic crisis by not raising our taxes, and by realizing we are not taxed to little, we are spending too much," the statement reads.Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.
Camie Young can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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