As they face down the fiscal cliff, a growing number of Republicans are abandoning the pledge not to increase taxes that they made to anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist. Today, Hudson Valley Rep. Chris Gibson came up with what might be the most creative excuse yet for breaking the pledge. Mr. Gibson saw his district number change from 20 to 19 during this year’s redistricting process and he reasoned that the pledge no longer applies to him as it was only to the constituents under the previous district number.
“The Congressman signed the pledge as a candidate in 2010 for the 20th Congressional District,” his spokeswoman explained. “Regarding the pledge moving forward, Congressman Gibson doesn’t plan to re-sign it for the 19th Congressional District, which he now represents (the pledge is to your constituents of a numbered district).”
Indeed, the pledge itself is addressed “to the taxpayers of the _____ district,” with the candidates filling in the blank. However, the next line of the pledge says “and to the American people,” which calls Mr. Gibson’s logic into question.
Nevertheless, Mr. Gibson apparently feels the change in his district number is a sufficient excuse for him to “consider all comprehensive packages brought forward as a result of bipartisan negotiations” in the latest high-profile budget negotiations currently controlling the conversation in Washington. He joins a slew of Republicans who have dropped the pledge, including Long Island Rep. Peter King who entered a heated war of words with Mr. Norquist over the issue. Prior to the recent raft of pledge-breakers, all but six of the current Republican members of the House of Representatives had signed the pledge.
Correction: One of the references to Mr. Gibson’s district number switches was initially reversed.