SCHUMER: Now, wait, I don't think that's fair to the president. The president had put serious spending cuts on the table. He and Speaker Boehner a week-and-a-half ago were this close. In a $4 trillion deal, they were $200 billion apart on revenues and $200 billion apart on cuts.
And then what happened, all of a sudden, Speaker Boehner decided to do this Plan B. He went back and for a week tried to raise the amount that you would extend the Bush tax cuts to people over $1 million, couldn't get -- the plan was flawed from the beginning. Instead of trying to get a bipartisan deal with Democrats and Republicans, he tried to win over the 50 most hard-right conservatives in his body. It fell -- wait, wait -- it fell apart, and it's leading us to this last minute.
So our choice is simple: Avoid the fiscal cliff and people's taxes going up or do nothing and let it happen. We didn't want to be in that position, but Speaker Boehner pulled out of the deal a week-and-a-half ago. It's not fair to blame the president.
KARL: But I've got to ask you about this question about -- because this is one of the big sticking points left, is whose taxes go up? Is it people making over $250,000, as the president wants, or Republicans suggested nobody, or people making over a $1 million?
But you, Senator Schumer, had proposed raising taxes only on those making over $1 million. And I want to take a look at what you said about this proposal, going at $250,000. This was last year. You said, "In the eyes of many, it is hard to ask households making $250,000 or $300,000 a year -- in large parts of the country, that kind of income does not get you a big home or lots of vacations or anything else that is associated with wealth. It also would affect too many small businesses."
Weren't you right back then, when you said it was wrong to raise taxes on those...
SCHUMER: Well, look, we offered that to our Republican colleagues two years ago, when the political landscape was different. They rejected it. And then the president, sticking to $250,000, campaigned on it openly, overtly. He won the election on it overwhelmingly on that issue; 60 percent of the public was with him.
So that is our position. It's a position that brings in more revenues. And what we have learned, as the fiscal situation deteriorated, if you go much higher than $250,000, to raise the rest of the revenues you need, you're going to hurt the middle class as you take away their tax deductions. So it's the right place...
KARL: But you said back then...
SCHUMER: ... to be.
KARL: But you said back then it would affect too many small businesses. Frankly, you sounded a little like Senator Kyl.
SCHUMER: Well, the bottom line is very, very simple, and that is that if you do -- if you go much above $250,000, you're going to hurt the middle class even worse and small businesses even worse by having to take away tax deductions. That's not the place we were at two years ago. It is the place we're at now, because the situation is deteriorating.