Jansing & Co. , 12/30/12, 7:00 PM ET

Rep. Flake: Real cliff will come if we fail to deal with debt, deficit

Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., opposes any delay of the sequester, when steep, automatic spending cuts will slash budgets at the Pentagon and other government...

GOP Rep: Real fiscal cliff is failure to ‘deal with our debt and deficit’

Updated

As lawmakers make a last-ditch effort to avoid the fiscal cliff, Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., says he opposes any deal that delays automatic spending cuts. Those cuts, known as the sequester, would slash $109 billion from the defense department and other government agencies.

Rep. Flake, who becomes a senator on Jan. 3, told Jansing & Co. “the worst thing that we could do is to turn off that sequester. The real cliff will come if we fail to deal with our debt and deficit. To turn off those cuts would be just a frank admission that we just can’t cut spending here ever, and I think that the markets will respond very negatively to that.”

As for income tax hikes, Rep. Flake says he’d prefer to keep tax rates at the current levels. But since President Obama and Democrats won’t go for that, he said he’d accept a deal that would protect as many taxpayers as possible from higher tax rates.

GOP Rep: Real fiscal cliff is failure to 'deal with our debt and deficit'

Updated