Hardball with Chris Matthews, 11/29/12, 7:00 PM ET

GOP rep. on fiscal cliff: ‘We’re screwed either way’

Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., and Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., join Hardball to debate their perspectives on fiscal cliff negotiations.

GOP gloom on the fiscal fight: ‘We’re screwed either way’

Updated

Republican Rep. Lee Terry is deeply pessimistic about the looming fiscal cliff deadline: ‘We’re screwed either way,’ he says.

The Nebraska lawmaker, who initially made the remarks to the Omaha World-Herald, explained his thinking on Thursday night’s Hardball.

“The president wants us to take a tax vote before he’s willing to talk about anything else—cutting or reforming. And Republicans just aren’t going to do that. So what he’s doing is setting us up to be the fall people for going over the fiscal cliff,” said Terry.

“I don’t see why that’s true,” host Chris Matthews countered, “because the president has talked about what kind of cuts he wants to make, including non-defense discretionary funds and a third of a trillion over 10 years in entitlements.” He added that liberals will never deal with the GOP unless they let the tax cuts expire. “They want to see the bite marks on your neck,” said Matthews.

The fiscal cliff refers to a package of tax increase and spending cuts that will go into effect in January unless Congress passes a deal.

President Obama has said the richest Americans need to pay more in taxes. Republican House Speaker John Boehner has said such tax increases would be “unacceptable.”

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va) offered a different perspective than Terry on Hardball, saying the issue is over. “The president won the election, and there weren’t a lot of explicits in this campaign, but one that there was, was the president explicitly saying…I think the better-off tax brackets ought to pay a little bit to help us with this fiscal cliff. He campaigned and won on that promise,” said Connolly.

GOP gloom on the fiscal fight: 'We're screwed either way'

Updated