GOP Rep. Open To Closing Loopholes To Avoid Defense Cuts

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"GOP Rep. Open To Closing Loopholes To Avoid Defense Cuts"

Virginia Rep. Scott Rigell (R) would consider raising new revenue through the closure of tax loopholes in order to avoid part of the automatic budget cuts that will take effect March 1, he said Thursday. Rigell was among the Republicans who hinted at support for ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy during debate over the so-called “fiscal cliff,” when a last-minute deal raised tax rates on Americans making more than $450,000 but pushed sequestration off until March.

Now, Rigell is again calling for talks about revenues to avoid defense cuts that would hit his district, the Wall Street Journal reports:

Rep. Scott Rigell (R., Va.), whose Hampton Roads district is home to the largest naval base in the world and relies heavily on Pentagon spending, said he is reaching the point where he will consider whatever Senate Democrats offer up, even if that includes closing tax loopholes.

“I want our leadership to consider it and not reject it outright,” he said.

With a week to go before the cuts begin, President Obama reached out to Republican leaders to negotiate a replacement for the sequester. Obama has proposed raising revenue through the closure of tax loopholes, a position many Republicans support, but Democrats want to put new revenues toward deficit reduction. Republicans prefer to use revenue gained from loopholes to lower current tax rates.

Other Republicans, including Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), have previously indicated that they would consider raising revenues to avoid defense cuts.

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