White House Press Secretary Jay Carney

Politics
12:49 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Yarmuth: No Time for Entitlement Reform Before 'Fiscal Cliff'

Credit U.S. Congress

Kentucky Third District Congressman John Yarmuth told MSNBC Monday that Democrats are willing to extend the Bush-era tax cut to help avoid the "fiscal cliff" but that Republicans are "dreaming" if they push for entitlement reforms before the new year.

President Obama and congressional leaders are in the midst of negotiating a new budget deal to avoid the $607 billion combination of automatic spending cuts and tax hikes set to take effect in January.

Mr. Obama has proposed an immediate extension of the Bush-era tax rates for incomes at $250,000 or less, but GOP lawmakers want the cuts to remain across-the-board. If a deal cannot be reached then all Americans will see their taxes go up, but the president has stressed that Congress can help 98 percent of Americans avoid an increase while his economic team forecasts going over the cliff would hurt the recovery overall.

Yarmuth says Congress can avoid the burden on middle-class Americans if a small number of the House GOP caucus vote with Democrats and accept a tax increase on wealthier Americans.

"That’s a real easy one if Speaker Boehner can deliver maybe 30 or 35 votes. I’d think we’d be happy to pass that and we’d avert that huge tax increase at the beginning of next year," he says. "And then we can extend the spending limits and delay the across the board cuts until a more comprehensive, balanced approach is negotiated."

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