Congressman on fiscal cliff talks: Democrats are ‘serious’ about cutting spending [AUDIO]

Nicholas Ballasy Senior Video Reporter
Font Size:

Democratic Michigan Rep. Sander Levin, ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, told The Daily Caller that President Barack Obama and Democrats are “serious about spending cuts” as part of a deal between the White House and Congress on the fiscal cliff.

Levin was responding to Speaker of the House John Boehner’s charge that the White House and Democrats are unwilling to cut spending — something he said was preventing negotiators from reaching an agreement to avoid going over the so-called fiscal cliff.

“They want to have this extra spending that’s actually greater than the amount they’re willing to cut. I mean, it was not a serious proposal. And so right now we’re almost nowhere,” Boehner said.

“We are serious about spending cuts,” Levin told TheDC on Capitol Hill. “The president has laid out some [cuts] and I think we’re willing to discuss them. We have to get over this first hurdle.”

“Republicans have to acknowledge that we need to extend the middle income tax cut — that’s the first hurdle and they need to say to that ‘OK’ and not hold it hostage to anything else, whether its spending or anything else. They need to sit down and say ‘OK we’ll do that,’ and then let’s go on and talk about other things.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have called on Republicans to support the extension of current tax rates for families making less than $250,000 annually. The cuts are set to expire at the end of the year. This would force Congress to debate the tax rates for families making over $250,000 separately.

Boehner supports extending the tax rates for all income brackets. Levin labeled House Republicans “the inflexible ones” for holding that position.

Follow Nicholas on Twitter