Cantor Asks Obama To Keep Tax Hikes Out Of Debt Talks
The Richmond Times-Dispatch
June 1, 2011
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-7th, today emerged from a meeting between House Republicans and President Barack Obama saying he asked for Obama's cooperation in keeping tax increases out of the Biden commission talks.
Cantor noted that the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee is putting together a tax reform plan sought by Republicans.
"I asked the president, hopefully, that he will work with us to do so and to keep out of the discussions surrounding the debt limit and in the Biden talks any notion that we're going to increase taxes," Cantor said.
"It's counterintuitive to believe that you increase taxes on those individuals and entities that you are expecting to create jobs."
Cantor is among a small group of lawmakers from both parties who are meeting with administration officials who are trying to forge an agreement on spending cuts in advance of a vote to increase the debt limit. Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is leading the talks. Republicans want cuts at least equal to the amount of the credit level increase – potentially a couple of trillion dollars.
The No. 2 Republican in the House said today's meeting gave GOP Republicans a chance to express concerns about the current situation in the economy. He referenced the labor report released today by ADP, a private payroll firm, that said private-sector employment increased by 38,000 from April to May on a seasonally adjusted basis. Cantor said it was "woefully short of the amount needed for us to see this economy get back on track and people get back to work."
Cantor said Obama "admitted that we have to look at growing this economy, and the discussion focused on the philosophical difference on whether Washington should continue to pump money into the economy, or [whether] we should provide an incentive for entrepreneurs and small businesses to grow."
He said he thinks the president was "well aware" and "admitted the fact that private sector job creation is not enough, and he did mention that a lot of the losses were in the public sector."
On Tuesday, U.S. House Republicans called for a vote to increase the nation's debt ceiling that they knew would fail.
Recognizing that the vote to raise the ceiling by $2.4 trillion was a gambit designed to get Democrats on the record as supporting an increase without spending cuts, most voted against.
Not Virginia's Democrats.
All three — Reps. Robert C. "Bobby" Scott, D-3rd, James P. Moran, D-8th, and Gerry E. Connolly, D-11th – were among the 97 who supported the increase, with 318 against.
"We have no choice but to increase the debt limit," Moran said in a statement. "I am deeply disappointed in House Republicans for bringing a vote on the debt limit in a way designed for it to fail. It's economically dangerous political theater that threatens to destabilize financial markets and calls into question the full faith and credit of the United States."
Scott said he supported a clean increase because it was "the responsible thing to do."
He repeated Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's warning that failure to raise the debt limit by early August would at least cause an increase in interest rates.
"A 1 percent increase in interest rates would cost the taxpayers approximately $100 billion a year," Scott said. "Increasing the debt limit is simply an acknowledgement of money that has already been spent. The United States government pays its bills and always has."