'This Week' Transcript: Senators Charles Schumer and Jon Kyl

KARL: ... the day it all expires, and you still don't have an agreement? I mean, we've been having this argument for two years.

SCHUMER: It is embarrassing, but almost every disagreement we have had is not because of the Senate, where we've had lots of -- you know, we've come to agreement on many things. There are 50 hard-right people in the House who don't want to compromise. They don't believe in any revenues; they say compromise is a dirty word. And Speaker Boehner, just as recently as last week, played their tune. You cannot make a deal...

KARL: OK, but then they berate the president for not...


SCHUMER: ... if you're going to let -- if you're going to let the people who are the hardest right and uncompromising dictate what we should do. So it's embarrassing, but I am hopeful in the new year, after Speaker Boehner is re-elected and he doesn't have to worry about those 50, that he will start working in a way like the Senate works a little more, which is Democrats and Republicans together, a majority of each party deciding and the extreme not deciding.

KYL: Let me get a word in edgewise here. On December 14th, here's what the Washington Post concluded an editorial by saying. There's no way to fix America's problem without doing something on entitlements. If the Democrats and Mr. Obama in particular don't get more seriously into that discussion, they have no standing to complain about the Republicans' lack of balance.

This is not just a problem with the House. The House passed legislation that would overt the fiscal cliff, both on the sequestration side and on the tax rate side. They've already acted.

SCHUMER: Now, wait a second.


SCHUMER: That was vouchering Medicare, and no one wants to do that.

KARL: I've got to ask Senator Kyl, though. There was a fascinating column yesterday by a conservative, Marc Thiessen in the Washington Post, making the case for allowing all of the tax cuts to expire. Let's take a look at what he said. He said: Shopping on a credit card is fun until the bill comes due. But if the bill never arrives, what incentive do people have to stop spending? Big government is great if you don't have to pay for it. Well, now it is time to pay for the bill. Maybe when the costs of the stimulus, Obamacare, the exploding entitlements are finally deducted from their paychecks, Americans will rediscover the virtue of big government.

Doesn't he have a point? If we have expanded the size of government so much under President Bush and President Obama, isn't it time to see somebody pay higher taxes?

KYL: Well, the way to economic recovery and growth is not by raising tax rates on the very people that employ the workers you want to keep working. Raising taxes is not going to provide the kind of growth that we need in the country to lift the people in the middle-income and lower-income brackets higher and to provide the capital that's necessary to invest in the markets to hire more people.

That's why both Senator Schumer and I are committed to trying to resolve this cliff problem, because, yes, it would be a very difficult thing. And if you want to go back into a recession and lose a million more jobs, then just talk about...


SCHUMER: So there is one place we agree. Nobody wants to raise taxes on people below $250,000. And that will be the impetus and why both of us have some degree of optimism that we can avoid this fiscal cliff in the next 24 hours.

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