House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., has exited from negotiations over resolving the problem of the looming debt ceiling, saying he is unable to agree to any tax increases.
His departure Thursday from the bipartisan talks was followed by Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., the only remaining Republican who was involved in the negotiations, which are being led by Vice President Joe Biden.
“As it stands, the Democrats continue to insist that any deal must include tax increases,’’ Cantor said in a statement. “There is not support in the House for a tax increase, and I don’t believe now is the time to raise taxes in light of our current economic situation. Regardless of the progress that has been made, the tax issue must be resolved before discussions can continue.’’
Republicans have been pushing for spending cuts instead of tax increases as a condition of raising the debt ceiling above the $14.3 trillion limit. So far the two sides have agreed to between $1.2 trillion and $2 trillion in spending cuts, according to various accounts.
The final negotiations are expected to involve President Barack Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio. The two men played a friendly round of golf last weekend with Biden, and reportedly met on Wednesday night as well.
“As all of us at the table said at the outset, the goal of these talks was to report our findings back to our respective leaders,'' Biden said, according to The Wall Street Journal. "The next phase is in the hands of those leaders, who need to determine the scope of an agreement that can tackle the problem and attract bipartisan support. For now the talks are in abeyance as we await that guidance."
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