Congress returns to work and first on the agenda—avoiding the fiscal cliff. With President Barack Obama reelected, can Democrats and Republicans put the past behind them and concentrate on a compromise?
Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., spoke with The Daily Rundown’s Chuck Todd about the GOP-end of negotiations, taking a somewhat moderate attitude. He believes a major priority for Congress is to help “move our country forward in a positive direction.”
“I think the president is the only one that can sign the agreement,” Barrasso said. “John Boehner needs to have an agreement that the House of Representatives will pass. I think whatever the two of them agree on, we’ll pass in the Senate.”
Barrasso also stressed that both Boehner and Obama will work together and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will work “very close in the discussions.” Their primary concern, according to Basrasso should be to get Americans back to work.
Todd questioned Barrasso about the possibility of raising taxes on those who have an income of $250,000 or higher. The senator was quick to say that proposal wouldn’t be too helpful in lowering the deficit.
“I think there is a difference between raising tax rates and tax revenue,” Barrasso said. “No matter who you talk to, they will tell you that raising taxes on that group is just a small drop in the bucket of what our deficit is.”
Barrasso said that tax is “less than one-tenth of the deficit,” and won’t solve the problem.
He told Todd that the country’s biggest problems are spending on Social Security, Medicare and Obama’s upcoming health care law.
“Expenses that are going to be coming every year adding much more than what can be gained by raising taxes,” Barrasso said. "Calling the $16 trillion debt unsustainable and irresponsible."
Barrasso wants Congress to work together and decide on a financial solution before the first of the year.
“We have to get something the president will sign and that the House will pass,” Barrasso said. “If you get that it will ultimately have enough votes to pass in the Senate.”