House Majority Leader Eric Cantor seemed to indicate earlier this week that there might be some give on taxes if the White House relents on entitlement reforms, although he later denied it.
In an interview with The New York Times
published Wednesday, the Virginia Republican said if President Barack Obama is “serious about fixing the problem,” referring to the budget deficit, “then we’ll see” about additional taxes.
When pressed on the issue, however, Cantor returned to the hard-line GOP leadership position that the House would not back higher taxes, noted the Times.
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Cantor also complained that Obama has not embraced changes to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security that Republicans say are needed to reach a deficit reduction deal.
But the Times reported Friday that the president now plans to unveil some cuts to entitlement programs as evidence of his willingness to compromise when he sends his annual budget proposal to Capitol Hill next week. The president's budget plan would also replace the automatic spending cuts on military and domestic programs that took effect March 1.
Obama's proposal is scheduled for release on Wednesday shortly before a dinner outing with a dozen Senate Republicans. The dinner will mark the second time in recent weeks Obama has met with GOP lawmakers in an informal setting to discuss budget and other issues.
Cantor may have recanted his comment about looking at addition tax revenues. But other Republicans have suggested the same thing in recent weeks. On March 17, for example, Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker reportedly said, “Republicans, if they saw true entitlement reform, would be glad to look at tax reform that generates additional revenue.”
And Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole told the Times, “Now that each side has recognized that the other cannot be bullied but must be bargained with, we have an opening to get things done.”
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