Pelosi Optimitic on Deal to Avert Fiscal Cliff

National Journal Staff
National Journal

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she was optimistic that talks between the president and congressional leaders could produce a deal to avert the combination of spending cuts and tax increases known as the “fiscal cliff, which are set to take effect at the beginning of next year.

But Pelosi said she would not accept a deal that does not include tax increases for the wealthiest Americans, and that simply closing loopholes in the tax code was “a blueprint for hampering our future” because it would not produce enough revenue.

“You cannot go forward—you have to cut some investments,” she said on ABC’s This Week, according to a transcript. “If you cut too many, you're hampering growth, you're hampering education, our investments for the future. So just to close loopholes is far too little money … and it could be they have said they want it to be revenue-neutral. If it's going to bring in revenue, the president has been very clear that the higher income people have to pay their fair share.”

Pelosi said that the spirit at the table of this week’s talks was that all parties wanted to strike a deal that avoids the fiscal cliff—and sooner rather than later.

“Hopefully that is possible,” she said. “Hopefully it is possible by the middle of December so the confidence of the markets, and most importantly the confidence of the consumers, returns to infuse our – our economy with – with demand, which creates jobs.”

She rejected the claim by some lawmakers, most notably Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., that if Republican and Democrats cannot reach a deal, Congress could simply allow the spending cuts and tax increases to kick in—which would eliminate some tax breaks for the wealthy that Democrats want to end—and then address the whole issue in the new year.

“I don't think it's my role to go to the table with a threat,” Pelosi said. “I think it's my role to go to the table with some ideas, to be receptive to what we can come to agreement on. I'm not criticizing statements others make, but what I am saying is that there's too much at risk. And even if you went over the cliff for one month and then corrected it, you would still have a loss of GDP.”

She added: “We're all grownups. We have a responsibility to the American people. The elements for an agreement are there. Time is of the essence. The quicker we do it, the more confidence we instill, the better it is for the economy and for the American people.”

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