The Corner

McCarthy Opposed to Tax-Rate Hikes

If a fiscal-cliff agreement includes tax-rate increases, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the Republican whip, will oppose the deal.

“We’re not going to whip a deal, just for the sake of a deal,” McCarthy says, in an interview with National Review Online. “I’m not going to work on something that, I feel, hurts the economy.”

“If there is a deal, it has to keep to our principles,” McCarthy says, and he urges his colleagues to resist any proposal that hurts small businesses.

McCarthy is confident in Speaker John Boehner’s ability to push for spending cuts and entitlement reform, and “set the framework to get it, to get us moving again.”

House Republicans, he says, “continue to believe that the best way to get revenue is through economic growth, as well as eliminating loopholes through overall tax reform.”

“Let me be clear, at the end of the day, no one has to be afraid of where the core of our conference stands,” McCarthy says. “Where I stand, philosophically and politically, is with the core of our conference.”

A handful of Republicans, such as Representative Tom Cole (Okla.), are open to a deal that would extend current tax rates, except for high-end earners. McCarthy respects Cole’s perspective, but he does not endorse it. “Tom has a different strategy,” he says. “He wants to take one thing and fight for the other things.”

McCarthy adds that the Obama White House’s latest offer, which was introduced by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner on Thursday, is dead on arrival. “The president keeps changing the numbers,” he says. “It’s crazy.”

Robert Costa — Robert Costa is National Review's Washington editor and a CNBC political analyst. He manages NR's Capitol Hill bureau and covers the White House, Congress, and national campaigns. ...

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