Grover Norquist speaks at an anti-tax rally on the steps of the Idaho Statehouse… (Chris Butler / Idaho Statesman…)
WASHINGTON -- Grover Norquist, whose name has become synonymous with lawmakers' vow to not raise taxes, is headed to Capitol Hill to remind members of Congress of that pledge.
Most of the Republicans in the House and Senate have signed the pledge, which, according to Norquist, is essentially a career-long commitment to voters never to raise taxes.
Democrats have bemoaned this state of affairs as the main roadblock to achieving a "grand bargain" -- a bipartisan deficit-reduction deal that would rely on both spending cuts and tax hikes to balance the nation's books.
And some Republicans have grown weary of the pledge -- saying they want more options in handling the nation's tough budgetary matters.
Even before Norquist, the feisty president of Americans for Tax Reform, set foot on the Hill on Thursday, a top Democrat, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, offered a prebuttal to the visit.
"All of you should know that the most powerful man in Washington will be visiting Congress this coming Thursday, and it's not Bryce Harper," Reid said earlier in the week, invoking the Washington Nationals' new star slugger, a fellow Nevadan.
"It's Grover Norquist," Reid said. "Grover Norquist is the only Republican leader who can truthfully say he has the entire Republican Party in the palm of his hand. ... So if you want to know what the Republican position is on any of the enormous economic challenges facing this country, don't waste your time asking Governor Romney, Speaker Boehner or Senator McConnell. Just ask Grover."
Reid was referring to the GOP leaders -- Mitt Romney, the presumed Republican presidential nominee, House Speaker John A. Boehner and Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader.
Norquist's meeting with a gathering of House Republicans was private.