Reports surfaced last night that President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) may be close to reaching a deal on raising the nation’s debt ceiling that would generate as much as $1 billion in new revenues while cutting close to $4 trillion in spending over the next decade. The deal reportedly includes changes to Medicare and Social Security, two vital programs that Americans, and even Tea Partiers, have repeatedly said should not be touched in order to reduce the deficit.
But even as the president puts these popular programs on the table, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) refused to budge on his stance that any debt deal should not include new revenues, saying during an interview with Fox News’ Gretchen Carlson he would not agree to close tax loopholes without offsetting them with tax cuts elsewhere:
CANTOR: If he wants to talk about loopholes, we don’t like loopholes and preferences, it’s not good for overall economic growth. We want to bring down rates and reform the system. But if he wants to plug that loophole, we want to see that offsetting tax cuts somewhere else, because the priority is jobs. It’s about getting people back to work and we’re not for raising taxes, period.
Carlson then asked Cantor if he supported closing loopholes for corporate jet owners and ending oil subsidies specifically. Though he had earlier professed support for cleaning up the tax code, Cantor dodged the question, saying Obama was attacking “millionaires and billionaires” and attempting to raise taxes on small business owners:
CANTOR: Again, I haven’t seen exactly what the president is talking about. But at the end of the day, his talking point is going after billionaires, millionaires and what have you. Again, if you look at what he’s talking about, it’s the same argument we had last November when we had the election, and that is that he and his party want to raise taxes on small business people right now, and that’s something that doesn’t make sense when we’re trying to get people back to work.
Watch the full exchange here:
House Republicans voted unanimously to uphold oil subsidies in March and have repeatedly attacked the president for suggesting that the wealthy shouldn’t get a tax break for buying a corporate jet. And Cantor continues to cling to the myth that creating new revenues by closing loopholes that primarily affect the wealthy would inhibit job creation, an assertion backed by no evidence.
As long as Republicans ignore reality — that government revenues are at a 60-year-low and closing certain loopholes could drastically change that — it is hard to imagine Obama can compromise in a way that is palatable to both the GOP and the American people.