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Carney To McConnell: Tax Hikes Must Be In Future Deficit Reduction

At the White House briefing this afternoon, press secretary Jay Carney responded to Senator Mitch McConnell declaring the tax issue "finished, over, completed" on the Sunday shows yesterday. Carney says any further deficit reduction "must be pursued with the same balanced approach" that was taken before.

Carney, suggesting the tax code be used to obtain more revenue, says "there are loopholes that are crying out to be closed."

CHUCK TODD: And finally would you respond to secretary -- sorry -- Senator McConnell over the weekend said the tax issue is now done. Does the White House share his view?

JAY CARNEY: No, we believe that any further deficit reduction, of which there must be, in the President's view -- must be pursued with the same balanced approach that the President has insisted on up to now.

TODD: now, though?

CARNEY: I'm not going to itemize how it breaks down. But the fact is as part of the overall $4 trillion deficit-reduction package that the President put forward, the ratio was more like $2 in spending cuts for every $1 in revenue.

TODD: Going forward now, now that this --

CARNEY: Well, again, you'd have to break down the numbers and look at it. And I'm not going to prejudge any proposals that might come forward.

But one of the things you heard the President of the United States say on New Year's Day when this fiscal cliff challenge was resolved is that the agreement enshrined the principle that we must have balance as we move forward in our deficit reduction. In the spending cuts that were part of the fiscal cliff deal, they were paid for in a balanced way with both -- rather the buy-down of the sequester was paid for in a balanced way with both -- roughly 50 percent spending cuts and 50 percent revenue. And that is an approach the President -- balance, anyway, is an approach the President believes is very important to continue.

And when members of Congress suggest that revenues are now somehow not part of the equation it doesn't really make a lot of sense, because as I stood here and discussed with you the various proposals going back and forth during the fiscal cliff negotiations, when the President was seeking in negotiations with Speaker Boehner a big deal, one that would address our long-term fiscal challenges through broader deficit reduction, the Speaker put on the table what he claimed was an $800 billion revenue proposal made up entirely of the closure of loopholes and the capping of deductions -- tax reform. Now, either that was good policy that they no longer support, or Republicans also believe, as the President does, that through tax reform we can achieve an improved tax --

TODD: So you think the Republicans are going to put forward $800 billion in tax increases --

CARNEY: Well, again, I would ask you what about that $800 billion proposal was okay then, it's not okay now.

And the President believes, as Republicans have said they believe, that we need to reform our tax code, and that there are loopholes that are crying out to be closed that no longer serve the country, if they ever did, and that there are ways of capping deductions and reforming our tax code that can produce more revenue in a fair way that, again, does not burden the middle class, but asks the wealthiest to pay more.

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