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McConnell Looks to Wrap Up Budget Talks, Plans Balanced Budget Vote

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Senate Republicans have “always been willing to consider so-called tax expenditures,” Kyl added, but in the context of overall tax reform that would result in a reduction of overall tax rates. “We’re not going to have time to do it” in the current debate, he said.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that if there’s going to be a deal, House Democrats need to be at the table.

“There won’t be any agreement ... unless the House Democrats are part of that, unless the Speaker comes to the table with 218 votes,” the former Speaker said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“I have no objection as former Speaker myself to the president and the Speaker trying to reach some level of agreement, some framework for how we go forward,” she later said. “That arrangement works if the Speaker has 218 votes. If they expect Democrats to vote for the agreement, then Democrats will have to be part of the agreement.”

One of her deputies, House Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.), also participated in the Biden discussions. He disagreed Sunday with Republicans’ contention that the Democrats’ proposed revenue raisers are tax increases.

“The fact of the matter is, we have on the table all kinds of revenue raisers that they keep calling tax increases. How do you call closing loopholes to oil companies that are making billions of dollars in profits, closing up these loopholes that would generate $40 [billion] to $50 billion in revenue, how do you call that a tax hike?” he asked on ABC’s “This Week.” “That is no tax hike.”

Two high-profile fiscal hawks, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), have both said they are unwilling to vote to raise the debt ceiling, even if it means difficult financial straits for the country. But both discounted on Sunday talk shows the idea that the government would actually default.

“Well, I do care if [the government] defaults, but the fact is, Candy, we won’t,” DeMint said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “If we never raise the debt ceiling again, we’re going to pay our bills, we’re going to pay Social Security.” He added that if Congress raises the debt ceiling without taking control of spending, “I think you’re going to see the markets respond in a much worse way as people look in and realize we don’t have the will to stop this spending.”

Bachmann, who will formally announce her 2012 presidential campaign Monday, pushed back against the predictions of default as debt scare tactics. “I have no intention of voting to raise the debt ceiling,” she said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “I’ve seen smoke and mirrors time and time again. ... That cycle has to stop.”

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