Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl (R) insists that he wasn't pressured by anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist into sabotaging a deal to lower the U.S. budget deficit.
After Kyl indicated that he was open to a super committee deal that would raise revenues as well as cut spending, Politico reported that Norquist called Kyl with "the tone of a teacher scolding a second grader."
"So, I call Kyl. 'What did you say? What did you mean? How can we work together on this?'" Norquist recalled asking the senator.
"And then he went down on the [Senate] floor, and he gave a colloquy about how we're against any tax increases of any sort. Boom!"
The Washington Post's Dana Milbank noted that as the committee was just hours away from complete failure, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) made a final effort to reach a deal last Monday.
"[O]bservers knew the effort was going nowhere for one simple reason: Kyl was in the room," Milbank wrote.
"Is that story true?" Fox News host Chris Wallace asked Kyl Sunday. "Are you and other Republicans somehow cowed by Grover Norquist and his anti-tax pledge?"
"The answer to both questions is absolutely not," Kyl declared. "And the proof in the pudding is the fact that the so-called Toomey plan that the Republicans -- all six of us -- offered to the Democrats would have specifically raised tax revenues."
The plan Kyl claimed Republicans offered, which was authored by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), would have been a massive tax cut for the rich. At the end of 2012, the top tax rate is set to rise to 39.6 percent as Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans expire. But under the Toomey plan, top rates would have dropped to 28 percent, which is even lower than they are now.
"It would have been the biggest tax cut since Calvin Coolidge," Kerry told NBC's David Gregory. "And we all know how that turned out."