Rep. Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.) made an interesting attempt to free himself from the anti-taxation bonds of Grover Norquist's pledge this week, announcing that his recent reelection to a redistricted swath of Hudson Valley effectively cleared the slate.
Gibson had signed the "no new taxes" pledge coordinated by Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform group when he was elected to represent New York’s 20th Congressional District in 2010. But following a U.S. Census-mandated redrawing of district boundaries, he won reelection in November in the 19th District. In a statement, Gibson argued that his new borders allowed him to reconsider the conditions of the pledge.
"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)," his statement says. "Those voters have just evaluated the Congressman on his record and his record is the same as his position now -- again, that he’ll fight for tax policy that helps those he represents."
The statement says that Gibson is still "opposed to increasing the marginal rates for individuals and businesses."
The conservative National Review quickly panned Gibson for his "evasive maneuvers," accusing him of coming up with a "ridiculous excuse" that could lead to his voting for tax increases.
Norquist, who has faced public dissent from several Republicans as they try to reach a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff, recently lit into lawmakers who were suggesting the pledge was anything less than a lifetime commitment.
Addressing Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), who had argued the pledge was only a two-year agreement, Norquist said, "I hope his wife understands that commitments last a little longer than two years or something."
King shot back that his wife would "knock [Norquist's] head off" for that comment.