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Top Democrat wants quick deal on 'fiscal cliff'

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

WASHINGTON — The top Democrat in Congress called Wednesday for a quick solution to Washington's "fiscal cliff" in an upcoming post-election session of Congress.

At the same time, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that asking wealthier people to pay higher taxes needs to be part of any solution to the government's budget woes.

The Nevada Democrat told reporters in Washington he's "not for kicking the can down the road" and that any solution should include higher taxes on "the richest of the rich."

The fiscal cliff is the one-two punch of expiring Bush-era tax cuts and across-the-board spending cuts to the Pentagon and domestic programs that could total $800 billion next year, based on Congressional Budget Office estimates.

It's is the most immediate item confronting President Barack Obama and a divided Congress in a post-election lame duck session. Economists say it threatens to push the economy back into recession if Obama and Republicans can't forge a deal to prevent it.

"The vast majority of the American people — rich, poor, everybody agrees — the richest of the rich have to help a little bit," Reid said.

The election victory has given Obama new leverage in the upcoming showdown with House Republicans controlling over fiscal issues.

But a rejuvenated Obama still confronts a re-elected House GOP majority that stands in powerful opposition to his promise to raise tax rates on upper-bracket earners, although House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has left the door open for other forms of new revenue as part of a deal to tackle the spiraling national debt.

"The American people have also made clear that there is no mandate for raising tax rates," Boehner said Tuesday night. "What Americans want are solutions that will ease the burden on small businesses, bring jobs home, and let our economy grow. We stand ready to work with any willing partner — Republican, Democrat, or otherwise — who shares a commitment to getting these things done."

The Ohio Republican is scheduled to address the issue Wednesday afternoon.

Reid also said he anticipates addressing the need to increase the government's borrowing cap early next year and not in the post-election session of Congress.

Comments

ittybittyme 1 year, 10 months ago

How about getting people (who do not truly need this stuff) off permanent disability, welfare, food stamp train...which is all they want and know. I am not reading or am not watching any congressman or Obama go after entitlements....it is absurd! I am tired of paying for sorry folks!!!!! Do your job politicians. No grants, no loans, no foreign aid....for anyone period!!!

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rightasrain 1 year, 10 months ago

Dirty Harry Reid is wrong again! Not EVERYONE supports his claim that the richest of the rich should pay more because they have more. I haven't heard Reid offer to write a big check; he's a "fat cat" also.

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VSU 1 year, 10 months ago

Why can't the freeloaders that never worked a day in their life do their part to help out? Deduct money from their welfare checks. Why should people that earned their money be the only ones to pay? Make everybody pay.

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Trustbuster 1 year, 10 months ago

Dirty Harry does not practice what he preaches. His liberal clique supports tax increases and spending programs that enrich the Democratic constituency. The senator is like his old gambling buddies back in Vegas. They just like rolling the dice hoping the numbers add up but they won't.

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bigbob 1 year, 10 months ago

You can't really think the house is dumb enough to start listening to that clown Obumma.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 10 months ago

Harry Reid represents everything that is WRONG with the US Congress in the modern era.

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alleebrin 1 year, 10 months ago

Yeah, I wonder if Reid and Pelosi (who has much money!) are willing to pay proportionately to others who are rich? I doubt it!

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