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The Virginia Republican withdrew last month from a group of bipartisan negotiators led by Vice President Joseph Biden because he said the talks had reached an impasse over revenues.
“If the president wants to talk loopholes, we’ll be glad to talk loopholes,” Cantor told reporters in his weekly briefing for reporters. “We’ve said all along that preferences in the code aren’t something that helps economic growth overall. Listen, we’re not for any proposal that increases taxes, and any type of discussion should be coupled with offsetting tax cuts somewhere else.”
Cantor’s statements led to a questioning of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell after the Senate Republican Conference luncheon Wednesday. The Kentucky Republican has said repeatedly that tax code reform is necessary but likely too complicated to conquer in the pending negotiations.
He reiterated that position with reporters Wednesday but softened on previous statements, perhaps leaving the door open for the more bold declarations from McCain and setting the table for negotiations with Obama on Thursday.
“Our biggest problem right now is the job problem. And we want to tackle deficit reduction in a way that doesn’t exacerbate the unemployment. So, yes, I’m open to tax reform. We need to do it broadly,” McConnell said. “To sort of cherry-pick items in the context of this current negotiation with the White House strikes me as pretty challenging.”