Representative Tom Cole (R., Okla.) earned himself a lot of MSNBC appearances last year when he broke ranks with his party and urged them to accept President Obama’s tax demands by letting the Bush-era tax rates expire on incomes above $250,000.
Obama did not get everything he wanted in the fiscal-cliff deal, but he ended up with a $600 billion tax increase. Now, he’s back for more. The president announced today a proposal to temporarily delay the looming sequester — $1 trillion worth of automatic spending cuts, half of which would come from the defense budget — using a “balanced” package of spending cuts and further tax hikes.
This time around, Cole is significantly less receptive to the idea, calling it “laughable.”
“Anything that involves higher taxes is dead on arrival,” he told reporters outside the House chamber. “This needs to be taken care of with spending cuts. If it’s not, it can just be the sequester as written.”
Indeed, House Republicans appear increasingly willing to let the sequester take effect, despite their concerns over the cuts to defense spending. “I think that’s actually the preferred position,” Cole said.
House speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) reminded reporters earlier today that House Republicans have already voted, on two occasions, to replace the sequester with alternative spending cuts, adding that “Americans do not support sacrificing real spending cuts for more tax hikes.”
“Look, people are very concerned [about the defense cuts],” Cole said. “That’s why we’ve twice offered alternative solutions to protect the defense [budget]. I think there’s a reasonable chance we do that again. But it’s not going to involve revenue. That’s just not politically possible.”