Rep. Carter: Democrats Must Include Spending Cuts to Avoid Fiscal Cliff

Friday, 30 Nov 2012 04:29 PM

By Bill Hoffmann and Kathleen Walter

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The key to preventing America from being pushed over the fiscal cliff is for the Democrats to begin talking about substantial spending cuts instead of just raising taxes, a top Republican lawmaker says.

“No one, and especially not the president or any of his Democratic colleagues is talking about the cuts that are necessary,’’ Rep. John Carter, a Republican from Texas, told Newsmax TV in an exclusive interview.

Watch the exclusive interview here.

“The Republicans are saying: ‘We will come to the table with no demands, willing to do what needs to be done.’ Let’s talk about cutting instead, cutting the spending and what we will do to coordinate.

“They are making this an issue totally as an extension of the presidential campaign.’’

Carter, who sits on the House Appropriations Committee, said he is “very concerned’’ about the direction of negotiations since House Speaker John Boehner announced Thursday that no substantive progress has been made.

And while some Republicans are hinting they may dig in their heels and return to supporting Grover Norquist's "Taxpayer Protection Pledge" — the controversial agreement that hundreds of GOP lawmakers have signed over the years — Carter is biding his time.

“I’m not going to do anything at all until I see some spending on the table. It’s ridiculous to only have one side of the conservation about taxes,’’ he said.

“Why should anyone make a commitment about taxes, while no one is even mentioning of looking into entitlements, of looking into discretionary spending?’’

Last year, the president and lawmakers from both parties took over spending decisions from the House Appropriations Committee when they agreed to a one-trillion-dollar spending cap with automatic spending cuts amid a debt-limit deal.

Carter now wonders whether the nation would now be facing a fiscal cliff if spending decisions had remained with his committee.

“We went in as instructed to reduce spending at every level, at every department … We cut and we cut and we cut,’’ he said.

“It’s frustrating when you view yourself as taking the hard votes, and that it’s completely ignored in the Democratic-led Senate.’’

Another pressing issue concerning Carter is the debt ceiling.

With the federal government about to hit the debt ceiling in late December and possibly defaulting on obligations by mid-February, Carter doesn’t believe Republicans will agree to raise it again.

“I don’t think so. For the Republicans, it’s the best trump they hold. The way out I see for my fellow Republicans is do not raise it,’’ he said.
“As it stands right now, with the nature of the negotiations running high, it’s not a good idea to raise the debt ceiling.’’

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