WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

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Republicans Put Revenue On The Table Ahead Of Fiscal Cliff Talks

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With Congress back in session this week, Democrats in the region are increasing pressure on the GOP to allow Bush-era tax cuts to expire for the nation's wealthiest earners.

Many Republicans are distancing themselves from their pledge to not raise revenue through eliminating tax deductions. On ABC's This Week, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) became the latest to announce he'd break with Grover Norquist on the tax code. But, like other Republicans, Graham still opposes allowing any of the Bush tax cuts to expire.

That's not good enough for Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). From his perch as the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, he argues Republicans are holding the middle class hostage ahead of January' s deadline for the "fiscal cliff."

"The Republican position is going to become more unsustainable by the day if they really insist on going over the fiscal cliff, because what they will be telling America on Jan. 1 and Jan. 2 and Jan. 3 is that nobody in America gets any tax relief unless higher income earners get a bonus tax break," Van Hollen says.

If lawmakers can't reach a deal by January, all the Bush-era tax cuts will expire and steep budget cuts will rip through the federal government, which could fall especially hard on the Washington region.

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