Left-wing Democrats push Norquist-style no-cuts budget pledge

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Jamie Weinstein
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      Jamie Weinstein

      Jamie Weinstein is Senior Editor of The Daily Caller. His work has appeared in The Weekly Standard, the New York Daily News and The Washington Examiner, among many other publications. He also worked as the Collegiate Network Journalism Fellow at Roll Call Newspaper and is the winner of the 2011 "Funniest Celebrity in Washington" contest. A regular on Fox News and other cable news outlets, Weinstein received a master’s degree in the history of international relations from the London School of Economics in 2009 and a bachelor's degree in history and government from Cornell University in 2006. He is the author of the political satire, "The Lizard King: The Shocking Inside Account of Obama's True Intergalactic Ambitions by an Anonymous White House Staffer."

Americans for Tax Reform founder Grover Norquist has been skewered by the media and the left for his Taxpayer Protection Pledge, but now some Democrats seem to be imitating him with a budget pledge of their own.

Left-wing Democratic Reps. Alan Grayson of Florida and Mark Takano of California are circulating a letter addressed to President Obama for members of Congress to sign. Signers of the letter pledge to vote against any substantive changes to America’s entitlement programs, including President Barack Obama’s proposal to use a different formula for Social Security cost of living increases.

“We will vote against any and every cut to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security benefits — including raising the retirement age or cutting the cost of living adjustments that our constituents earned and need,” the letter reads, in part.

The letter, which was drafted in February, is backed by liberal groups such as the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy for America and MoveOn, among others. Thirty Members of Congress have signed onto it as of April 9, according to the latest update on Grayson’s website.

“This is a left-wing pledge just like ATR is a right-wing pledge,” David Walker, U.S. Comptroller General under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, told The Daily Caller. “They should be rejected.”

Even Norquist sees the pledge as similar in concept to ATR’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge, though he points out there are differences that go beyond substance.

Norquist says ATR’s pledge is unique because it asks members of Congress to sign their name to a document which promises their constituents — not Norquist or his organization — that they will not vote for any tax increase.

“This could be like the Taxpayer Protection Pledge if it’s not to other members, but to the people of their district, and if they run on it,” Norquist told TheDC.

In contrast to the two and half dozen signatures the Grayson-Takano letter has garnered, some 218 House Republicans and 39 Senate Republicans have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. They were joined by New Jersey Rep. Rob Andrews, the only current Democrat in the House or Senate to have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, though he signed it in 1992 and says he was only bound by the terms of the pledge for the 1993 to 1995 congressional term.