Chief deputy whip Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) clarified this morning that fiscal cliff compromise only begins if Democrats get the tax hikes they want first.
“The president has made it abundantly clear that he’s prepared to compromise if, in fact, the Republicans understand that we have to raise taxes on the richest 1 percent or so in this country. They’re not willing to do that,” Waters said on CNN.
And Republicans’ willingness to find the revenue through tax reform — closing loopholes, nixing some deductions, etc. — is also apparently a non-starter.
“Basically, what they’re saying is, we can, you know, get the resources that we need, the revenue, rather, that we need, by closing loopholes, and some reforms. But they’re not willing to deal with the tax rates,” she said. “That’s a no starter. We have to have all of those tax cuts that were afforded to them by the Bush administration on the table. We’ve got to increase those tax rates.”
“And so, they don’t have a credible proposal on the table and we are, and the president is willing to compromise and to talk about cuts and discretionary spending, if, in fact, we can get started with understanding we have to have the revenue in order to have a credible compromise.”
Waters said that raising tax rates on the upper income brackets, regardless if the revenue is made up through reform, is the “holdup.”
“If, in fact, you want to continue to give tax breaks to the richest people in this country, then you can’t get started with a credible proposal for compromise. You’ve got to start there,” she said.
“The press has basically coined the fiscal cliff and promoted the idea of this catastrophic position that the Congress finds itself in. I think that what the public is looking for is they’re looking for reasonable, sensible legislators to talk about what is possible. They’re looking for both sides to be willing to compromise,” Waters continued. “But one thing we know for sure, the president has a mandate. The people have spoken, and they have said they want everybody to pay their fair share of taxes. They don’t want the middle class and working people to have to bear the burden of the cost of government, without the very, very rich paying their fair share.”
“And that is at the top of this agenda. And it has to be dealt with.”