Mitchell Reports | November 08, 2012
>> me now to discuss the fiscal cliff negotiations, from inside, the house democratic perspective, chris van hollen , ranking member of the house budget committee and someone who served on the super committee. we've not completely depressed you about what you face, you know what you face. you've been in talks that have reds during the campaign. i would argue there was nothing specific other than hints from either mitt romney or president obama during the campaign that would tell people exactly how they were going to deal with these cuts and what they were going to do and how to approach entitlements. you can argue they don't have a mandate to deal with this. how do you approach the fiscal cliff in.
>> well, of course the fiscal cliff has two pieces. one the across the board meat ax sequester cuts which everybody agrees are a bad way to cut the deficit. and i do believe we'll find a way to buy down those cuts, find alternative ways to save money for a temporary period while we negotiate other things. now, on the tax part of the fiscal cliff , i would argue strongly that that was a major part of the campaign and --
>> i'm talking about the budget cuts, right.
>> he was crystal clear he said we should avoid the main part of the fiscal cliff by extending all of the middle class tax cuts and that number you used of around $500 billion, most of that comes from the middle class tax cuts and what the president has said we should extend all of those middle class tax cuts right away. it's republicans who have said, wait a minute, nobody gets any tax relief unless very wealthy people, people like mitt romney , get this bonus tax break .
>> but the president has said he would veto a bill that would extend all of the bush tax cuts , give the wealthy the continuing tax break .
>> that's right.
>> and republicans don't blink, and he vetoes it, that does send us off the cliff to the extent that that money's taken out of people's pockets.
>> i understand, andrea. i think it's just unsustainable politically for republicans to go into the month of january allowing us to go over the tax portion of the fiscal cliff , telling the american public that 98% of the american people don't get any tax relief because they're holding out for a bonus tax break for the very wealthy. in fact what they're saying is that, unless people earning over $250,000 get an extra tax cut on the amount they earn over $250,000, then nobody else in the country gets tax relief. and this was essential argument in the campaign. mitt romney and paul ryan talked about the fact that this was a choice election and the american people made their choice on this issue and in fact the exit polls , as you know, show that a majority of the american people think we need to take this balanced approach to reducing the deficit because if we don't ask these higher income earners to contribute a little bit more reducing the deficit, everybody else gets whacked that much harder. we have less to invest in education for our kids, seniors on medicare have to pay more and the president has all along said we need to take a balanced approach.
>> congressman, everybody's focused on the bush tax cuts . there's the alternative minute tax that will hit some 26 million households and there's -- there are costs to some people from obama care which is now acknowledged, we can say obama care without it being pejorative since the president embraced it during the campaign. there are other taxes that go in, the payroll tax cut from 2011 expires. what happen do you you do about all of that.
>> alternative minimum tax there's universal agreement that we should continue to fix the -- we should get rid of the alternative minuimum tax but congress needs to extend the patch for another year, two years while we come up with a permanent fix, bgetting rid of amt, which is universal agreement. the president said move forward on the pieces we agree with, including that. on the payroll tax cut i'm one who -- my personal view is that we should extend at least for a year the payroll tax cut or something that's equivalent to it, that provides a little extra money to about 160 million working americans and given the fact that the economy remains fragile, it's important to either do that or something like it for another year because you raise a really important point. in addition to coming up with a long-term plan to reduce the deficit we really need to focus on jobs and the economy, and that is an important piece of it extending the payroll tax cut or its equivalent. when republicans say extend the tax break for the folks at the very top for job purpose in the economy, that has been proven to be untrue and congressional budget office , which is a nonpartisan organization says, you do much more to boost the economy by a temporary extension of the payroll tax cut. so that's the kind of thing we should be focused on. helps 160 million americans . if republicans are saying they're going to deny tax relief to the middle class or 160 million americans because they're holding out for tax breaks for folks at the very top that's not an argument they're able to carry successfully to the american people . just like they couldn't carry the, you know, the president talked about student loans during election. he didn't want interest rates to double. the republicans were resisting that at first but when it came time, they ultimately joined with the president.
>> congressman, we only have a couple of seconds. let me ask who is your democratic leader going to be?
>> well, nancy pelosi has done an absolutely terrific job and obviously it's her decision as to whether or not she wants to continue. but she fought throughout this campaign. she was everywhere. she was a great speaker. she's been a great leader. so i'm sure the caucus would support her, if she decides to continue here. obviously these are decisions that she's going to be making.
>> chris van hollen , thank you very much sir.