As controversy swirls around whether Republicans should accept higher taxes on the wealthy, former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour says that he can do so if Democrats agree to entitlement cuts in return.
“I would take raising the rates on the two top brackets if in return, we had tax reform laid out over a period of months, if we had entitlement reform,” he told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Tuesday.
“We gotta control defense spending, we gotta control other discretionary non-defense spending. I think if you have that whole package, I would hold my nose, despite the fact raising those two brackets is bad economics, bad for jobs, gonna hurt the economy. I would hold my nose to get the deal done.”
The former Republican National Committee chairman lit into President Barack Obama for proposing additional spending, such as an extension of unemployment benefits.
“He wants a whole bunch of new spending in whatever the deal is,” Barbour said. “That’s not what the American people thought the fiscal cliff was about. They thought it was about trying to have something to force our Congress to do something about our deficit and debt situation.”
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., an influential fiscal conservative, has taken a similar stance to Barbour’s on raising taxes. "There is a growing group of folks looking at this and realizing that we don't have a lot of cards as it relates to the tax issue before year-end," he told “Fox News Sunday.”
If Congress and the White House don’t act before then, $607 billion of tax hikes and spending cuts — the fiscal cliff — begins automatically Jan. 1.
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