(CNN) – Anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist said the latest Republican to suggest a break with a pledge to oppose any tax increase is a promise broken to his constituents, not him.
"If he wants to change his mind and become a tax increaser so we don't have to reform government, he needs to have that conversation with the people of Georgia," said Norquist appearing on CNN's "The Situation Room" Friday of Sen. Saxby Chambliss' recent move away from the no-tax pledge.
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Two-term Sen. Chambliss, a Republican from Georgia, said Wednesday that Norquist's pledge stands in the way of finding common ground on reducing the debt.
"I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge," Chambliss told Georgia television station WMAZ, a CNN affiliate. "If we do it his way, then we'll continue in debt and I just have a disagreement with him about that."
Norquist leads the conservative group Americans for Tax Reform and has been successful in getting a majority of Republican lawmakers in Washington to sign a pledge promising not to support any effort to raise taxes. Recently, however, with the looming fiscal crisis, a number of freshman conservatives have broken with the pledge.
Norquist's comments come as congressional leaders and President Barack Obama stretch to reach a deal to reduce the nation's deficit before the end of year deadline. Barring a deal, a series of mandatory tax hikes and federal spending cuts will go into place, known as the 'fiscal cliff.' The two sides split on a means to raise revenue to tame the nation's debt: Democrats push for letting the Bush-era tax cuts expire for wealthier Americans while Republicans have advocated for closing loopholes and tax deductions.
Chambliss and others' break from the pledge has some pointing to a divergence within the party away from the constraints of a written promise not to support tax increases.
Norquist rejected the notion pointing to a number of Republican leaders, like House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell, who he says will keep their commitment to reduce federal spending and oppose increases in tax rates during 'fiscal cliff' talks, adding that the deficit negotiations should be televised on C-SPAN instead of behind closed doors for the sake of transparency.
Norquist also said the pledge belongs to the candidates who have signed it, including some Democrats.
"Mr. Chandler from Kentucky was elected, Ben Chandler, taking the pledge. He broke the pledge and he was defeated in the last election. People were unhappy that he pretended to be a conservative democrat, and he lost his election," Norquist said.
"(Ben) Nelson, another Democrat, a senator from Nebraska, also got elected taking the pledge," he continued attributing Nelson's choice not to run for re-election to a lack of support after voting for Obamacare.
CNN's Dana Davidsen, Ashley Killough and Tom Cohen contributed to this report.