WASHINGTON -- As the nation moves ever closer to the Jan. 1 fiscal cliff, President Obama continues to blame Republicans for blocking the bill that would stop tax hikes and spending cuts from taking effect.
"Democrats in the House are ready to sign that same bill today," the president said. "If we can get a few House Republicans to agree as well, I'll sign this bill as soon as Congress sends it my way."
"I have to repeat, I have a pen. I'm ready to sign it," he reiterated.
Meanwhile, anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist is still taking heat for the Taxpayer Protection Pledge he came up with years ago that almost every single Republican lawmaker has signed.
But at a question-and-answer session sponsored by Politico, he wouldn't back down from his stance that government doesn't need new tax hikes.
"The government's too big now," he said. "We don't want it to get any bigger. Why would you give it more money to get bigger? All the effort by Obama to raise taxes is to expand government."
As for some Republicans signaling they want out of the pledge, Norquist said that's just an odd way to look at a promise.
"If someone were to tell you they were pro-life or pro-choice, would you ask them, 'Is this for 18 months or a year-and-a-half? How long are you pro-choice?'" Norquist challenged.
"For as long as you're a congressman, you're telling someone who you are: 'I'm the kind of guy who's pro-choice or pro-life or won't raise your taxes,'" he said.
Norquist noted there's been no stampede away from the pledge, just a few murmurs.
"Over 90 percent of Republicans have taken the pledge. They've all kept it by the way, even with all this talk of 'somebody might break the pledge,'" he said.
He suggested they cave only if the Democrats sign off on huge spending cuts.