Republicans fault President Obama’s supposed “lack of leadership” for the coming fiscal cliff, but during an interview on CNBC Tuesday afternoon, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) could not say where the GOP was willing to compromise to avoid half a trillion dollars of military cuts or the wave of expiring tax breaks.
Pressed by host Maria Bartiromo, Cantor was unable to detail even one possible area where Republicans were willing to negotiate with Democrats:
BARTIROMO: So what are you willing to give on, Congressman? When you look at what the two sides are basically sticking to their guns, can it really be realistic to say taxes can never go up, that, you know, taxes should stay where they are forever in any environment? What are you willing to give on?
CANTOR: First of all, raising taxes is not the answer. We all know that. This problem is too large to think we can tax our way out of it. What we really need to be focused on is how big do we want the government to be, and begin to assess our priorities so we can manage down the deficit. That’s clearly how it is. Once we get a plan in place where, in fact, we’ve got a solution to the overspending, you know, we can begin to tell people their tax revenues will go to be paying off the deficit. But the problem is, Maria, there’s been an unwillingness to face up to the hard facts that there are obligations that have been assumed by the taxpayers, frankly, and there’s not enough money to satisfy those obligations. That’s what we have to sit down, iron out the differences, and go forward.
During a press conference to commemorate the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) hinted that a deal is unlikely. “I’m not confident at all,” he said of the prospect of forestalling the cliff, adding, “the House has done its job on both the sequester and on the looming tax hikes that’ll cost our economy some 700,000 jobs.” Cantor also tried to connect the terrorist strike to the automatic military cuts included in the Budget Control Act. “The best thing that we can do as a people to honor those individuals is to make sure that it never happens again, and we have looming massive defense cuts that this House has acted to substitute,” he argued.
Republicans have so far refused to give an inch on taxes and have in the past brought the government to the brink of shutdown over the Democrats’ efforts to raise revenues.