To avoid fiscal cliff, both parties say they're looking for common ground -- just not on taxes

10/16/2012 09:59 AM

Two weeks ago U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and Democratic Leader Harry Reid got a letter signed by New Hampshire Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte and five other senators from both parties asking them to reopen negotiations to avoid the fiscal cliff — before the election.

McConnell said that’s unlikely to happen. But Ayotte told Pure Politics that the potential catastrophe of Congress’ own making must be averted.

Still, there are key disagreements. Democrats have criticized Republicans for not being willing to raise taxes on higher income earners. But Ayotte told Pure Politics she believes it would be “foolish” to raise taxes in the current economic situation.

“With our 7.8% unemployment rate and with our growth stagnant is not the time to raise taxes on individuals” (at 2:15).

Ayotte said she would support a more simplified tax code that would make America more competitive on a global scale.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the House budget committee, said some of the Republicans’ economic approaches, such as insisting on across the board tax increases, have contributed to the financial condition of the federal government.

Van Hollen said compromise would be easy if the Republicans would budge on their opposition to raising taxes on high income earners.

“Republicans to date have said you know not one penny of revenue from very wealthy people to help with the deficit issue. And with respect to the tax part look, Republicans have the keys to this issue in their hands” (at :30).

About Pure Politics

Pure Politics airs Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. ET and again at 11:30 p.m. ET in all of cn|2's Kentucky markets. The program features political analysis and news, as well as interviews with officials, candidates, policy makers and political observers.


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