McCarthy Refuses to Accept Tax Hikes

by Brian Bolduc

On CNN’s State of the Union, anchor Candy Crowley struggled in vain to get Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) to say which tax increases House Republicans would accept to facilitate a debt-ceiling deal with President Obama and Senate Democrats.

“I want to strangle all of you,” she told McCarthy in jest for what she perceived as typical Washington gridlock.

Despite Crowley’s repeated efforts, McCarthy insisted that Republicans would not raise taxes on small-business owners.

“There are no votes on the Republican side [for tax increases],” McCarthy said.

When Crowley reminded McCarthy that Republicans controlled only the House, McCarthy joked, “But we take all the blame.” He also suggested that House Republicans had gotten Democrats to agree to $2.4 trillion in cuts via negotiations led by Vice President Joe Biden.

But when Crowley interviewed Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.), he told the host, “Our Republican colleagues [are] dreaming if they think we had $2.4 trillion in cuts.” And he criticized the GOP for walking out of those talks.

Van Hollen also rejected McCarthy’s argument that eliminating the tax deductions the Democrats had highlighted would hurt small businesses: “To say you’re protecting small businesses and mom-and-pop [shops] is just dead wrong. What they’re protecting is big special corporate interests.”

The Democrat later admitted, “We think we should bring down the corporate rate.” Unlike Republicans, however, he said his party wouldn’t sacrifice “one penny” for special-interest loopholes.

When Crowley asked Van Hollen directly if he wanted to raise taxes, especially in light of Friday’s dismal jobs report, the Democrat hedged a bit. “All the proposals we’re talking about kick in after 2012,” he cautioned. But he continued, “I would close the loopholes for corporate jets sooner rather than later.”

If the Republicans refused to “reconsider their position,” Van Hollen conceded, “then we’re really back — not at square one — but it’s a major setback.”