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Five Congressmen, Four Views on Debt Negotiations Five Congressmen, Four Views on Debt Negotiations Five Congressmen, Four Views on Debt Negotiations Five Congressmen, Four Vi...

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Budget / BUDGET

Five Congressmen, Four Views on Debt Negotiations

Ahead of Thursday's White House debt negotiations, members of Congress from both parties weighed in on the debate, calling for everything from a constitutional balanced-budget amendment to a return to Clinton-era tax rates. Here's what they said:


Sens. Olympia Snowe, R-Me., and Jim DeMint, R-S.C., argued in a Wall Street Journal op-ed for a constitutional amendment, which all 47 Senate Republicans support, that would tie government spending to income. The country needs the amendment, Snowe and DeMint argued, to force future lawmakers to stick within any debt agreement that is reached. Such an amendment is the "only way to compel lawmakers to maintain their responsibility forever," they said.



Turning to short-term compromises, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe Thursday that it would be fine if President Obama closed the corporate jet loophole, a tax disparity favoring business planes over commercial airliners, so long as there were offsetting tax cuts elsewhere. Still, Cantor emphasized that his party's priority remains getting Americans back to work. The GOP is united in its view, he said, that the only appropriate time to raise taxes is in a growing economy—not in our current one.


Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., a member of the House Financial Services Committee, also emphasized jobs on Morning Joe, resisting questions related to a compromise. He said he wouldn't vote for any budget proposal that didn’t include a stimulus plan or Clinton-era tax rates. Putting more people to work is the only way to increase tax revenue, which in turn is the only way to reduce the deficit, he said.


Writing in a Washington Post op-ed, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., a member of the bipartisan "Gang of Six" senators working toward a deficit agreement, emphasized the need to “attack both sides of the ledger,” cutting spending and increasing revenue. Without reaching such a plan, the world could face a worse crisis than that of 2008, he argued. Failing to raise the debt ceiling could increase interest rates, harm consumer confidence, and hurt job creation, he said. Warner called on business leaders and Wall Street to demand “an end to the political brinkmanship.”

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