CNN host Christine Romans chided Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) on Tuesday for refusing to raise tax rates on the rich to reduce the federal deficit, telling him that his job was not to represent anti-tax activist Grover Norquist.
During a discussion about the so-called fiscal cliff, CNN host Soledad O’Brien asked Chaffetz if Congress should raise taxes for people who are making more than $250,000 annually.
“That’s not something I think that we should be doing,” he responded. “I don’t believe we should be increasing the tax rate. I like what Speaker Boehner said and said, look, let’s work on closing these loopholes and deductions. That is common ground. There’s no reason why we can’t come together.”
Chaffetz said Republicans were only opposed to raising tax rates, not cutting tax deductions.
“You signed Grover Norquist’s pledge, I’m going to assume, because pretty much every Republicans congressman did,” O’Brien noted, asking if he was willing to rip up the pledge in order to compromise on a budget deal with Democrats.
“I do not intend to do that. I want to fight for the principles I believe in. I, too, was elected, and I think that’s part of the give and take,” Chaffetz said.
“But Grover Norquist did not elect you. Your constituents elected you,” Romans interjected. “You don’t represent for Grover Norquist. You represent your constituents and the American people.”
But Chaffetz insisted his primarily loyal was to his constituents.
“I didn’t sign it because I was trying to please Grover Norquist,” he remarked. “I signed it because I believe it. I don’t believe that we are one good tax increase away from prosperity in this nation. I really do believe that we have to rein in spending, we’ve got to broaden the base, lower the rate and get this country working again.”
Watch video, courtesy of CNN, below: