Eric Cantor Pulls Out of VP Debt Limit Negotiations

Jun 23, 2011 11:00am

ABC News’ John R. Parkinson (@JRPabcDC) reports:

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced this morning that he is pulling out of the debt limit negotiations led by the vice president because the group has reached an “impasse” over the Republicans’ opposition to raising taxes that can only be broken by the president.

“As it stands the Democrats continue to insist that any deal must include tax increases.  There is not support in the House for a tax increase, and I don’t believe now is the time to raise taxes in light of our current economic situation.  Regardless of the progress that has been made, the tax issue must be resolved before discussions can continue,” Cantor said in a statement Thursday morning. “Given this impasse, I will not be participating in today's meeting and I believe it is time for the President to speak clearly and resolve the tax issue.”

The group of bipartisan negotiators was set to meet for an 11th time today in talks that began in May at the request of President Obama. The group met three days last week and already twice this week before Cantor pulled out of the talks.

Each party’s leader of each caucus in the Congress appointed up to two members to participate in the talks. House Speaker John Boehner tagged Cantor as the House GOP’s lone representative.

Although progress at the meetings appears to have stalled, Cantor once again applauded Biden’s leadership at the meetings.

“The Vice President deserves a great deal of credit for his leadership in bringing us this far,” Cantor, R-Va., said. “We have worked to find areas of commonality to meet the goal of identifying spending cuts commensurate with or exceeding the amount of the Obama Administration's request for a debt limit increase.  I believe that we have identified trillions in spending cuts, and to date, we have established a blueprint that could institute the fiscal reforms needed to start getting our fiscal house in order.”

“Once resolved, we have a blueprint to move forward to trillions of spending cuts and binding mechanisms to change the way things are done around here,” he added.

Heading into the first negotiation earlier this week, Cantor declared “it is crunch time now” and that as the negotiations tighten “it’s time for the president to step up.”

“Everything that we’ve discussed has led to the point now that we are in some very tough discussions right now, and you know, as we approach July, where there’s not much time now if we’re going to come to see some agreement, I would just call on the president to be willing to make some of these tough decisions now,” Cantor told reporters Tuesday. “The president has not seemed willing to engage and say that he’s willing to do the tough stuff with us.”

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