Pelosi: Without agreement on tax rates for the rich, ‘we go over the cliff’ [VIDEO]

“If we’re not going to do it, if the Republicans are just going to say never, no way, we will not touch one hair on the head of the wealthiest people in our country, not one red cent from them, then let us know that right now too, so we can take the consequences of that and mitigate for that.”

Pelosi is pushing House members to sign a discharge petition that would force a vote on a Senate bill to extend the current tax rates exclusively for families making less than $250,000 per year.

“I’m really surprised that the Republicans would leave. We came in Tuesday and we left Wednesday at 12 noon? With all that needs to be done, avoiding the conversation? Sounds like people don’t want to be in town for some reason,” Pelosi said.

“The reason is, is because there are — we are asking them to sign a discharge petition to urge their — if they don’t want to sign, to urge their leadership to pass middle-income tax cuts, which is the liberation, which is the freeing from the hostage-taking, which is the setting the table for what can come next, once we understand that we’re holding the middle class harmless as we go forward.”

Follow Nicholas on Twitter