“Brendan has not signed the ATR pledge and has no plans to sign it,” Doherty spokesman Robert Coupe told WPRI.com, using the acronym for Norquist’s group, Americans for Tax Reform.
Norquist – who once said he wants to “shrink [government] down to the size where we can drown it in a bathtub” – created the Taxpayer Protection Pledge in 1986 with the backing of President Reagan. “Signing it has become de riguer for GOP candidates running for federal or statewide offices,” The Hill later wrote.
Doherty now joins a growing group of Republicans who say they don’t want to be tied down by a pledge to never vote for an increase in federal revenue. At least a third of the GOP’s top candidates this year aren’t planning to sign the pledge, The Washington Post reported last week.
“The premise behind this and similar pledges that seek to tie the hands of candidates and elected officials tends to result in greater division and increased gridlock in Congress, at a time when we need to seek consensus and common-sense solutions,” Coupe said.
“Brendan has called repeatedly for comprehensive tax reform to simplify the tax code, close loopholes and create a tax plan that treats middle class families fairly and allows small businesses to compete and create jobs,” he continued. “That is Brendan’s commitment to the citizens of Rhode Island and his pledge is to provide the real leadership that is needed in Congress right now.”