Tax Pledge Mutiny as Fiscal Cliff Approaches

ABC News' Jonathan Karl has new details on the debate over tax reform.
2:36 | 11/26/12

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Transcript for Tax Pledge Mutiny as Fiscal Cliff Approaches
And now the looming threat to every american family budget, look at this. The countdown on, 36 days until the nation goes over that fiscal cliff. A tax hike for everyone on new year's day unless lawmakers end their long gridlock and today we did see a sign the paralysis may be ending. A republican mutiny against a man who had convinced them to take a pledge. Abc's jonathan karl on the big picture from washington tonight. Reporter: It's been an article of republican faith for decades, no tax increases of any kind, period. Behind it all, this man, grover norquist, considered one of the most powerful men in washington. Since he worked for RONALD REAGAN IN THE 1980s HE'S Gotten virtually every republican to sign a pledge promising no tax increases. They sign it to help get elected and don't violate it for feaof getting hammered for breaking their word. Now how many of these things have been signed? Pledges? Reporter: Yes. Thousands over the years. Reporter: He keeps them all on file here's john boehner's pledge signed 20 years ago. If somebody signed this 10 years ago, 18 years ago, 20 years ago, are they still bound by it? Now when you got married, did your wife understand there was an expiration date on that promise? When you borrowed money to buy your house, did you say, "oh geez, that mortgage? That was 10 years ago. You're still asking me for money?" You make a commitment, you make a commitment. Reporter: The pledge is the single biggest to any deal that would raise taxes, but with a budget crisis on the horizon and a re-elected president, some republicans are now thinking the unthinkable ditching tdge. I will violate the pledge long story short for the good of the country. I'm not obligated on the pledge. The world has changed, and the economic situation is different. Reporter: And while virtually every republican in the past signed it nearly a third of the house republicans retuesday to sign it this time. Republicans ditching the pledge could be a big step towards a deal with the president and tonight, diane, another republican senator, lisa murkowski, tells abc news that she too would be willing to break the pledge in exchange for spending cuts. If this is a new sign of flexibility, jon, when are you looking for sure to see if there is a deal. Reporter: They're negotiating quietly behind closed doors. Still no sign of a dale. Time is running out and, remember, diane, they remain far apart on the question. Republicans, some may be willing to raise taxes by cutting loopholes but still don't want to raise rates and that's what the president wants. Thanks to you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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