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Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) carried the combative tone that's paralyzed Congress this year to CNN's "State of the Union with Candy Crowley," trading rhetorical blows on expiring tax cuts and absentee budget plans.
Hutchison stirred the pot with a recent op-ed in which she needled President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats for a perceived "lack of urgency" on tax provisions poised to sunset at the end of the year.
She renewed that line of attack on CNN, charging the other party with hamstringing small businesses with "the Obama taxes and fines coming into place" and warned that inaction would expose 25 millon middle-class taxpayers to the alternative minimum tax.
Boxer argued that Democrats are conscious of the pending tax issues but are not inclined to reward millionaires with additional relief.
"We agree that we are going to renew a lot of these," Boxer said, adding that the middle class might enjoy "even deeper tax cuts."
But she intimated that any compromise would have to include more than just tax action.
"We need to move forwaed with jobs, jobs, jobs. So, yes, we have to approach it all," Boxer asserted.