Nancy Pelosi: No Fiscal Cliff Deal Without Tax Rate Hike For Wealthy


In an interview on "This Week," House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi gave ABC's Martha Raddatz a firm "no" when asked if a deal to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff" could exclude tax rate hikes on the wealthy. Pelosi, D-Calif., said that simply closing loopholes and capping tax deductions for the wealthy would not suffice.

"Well, no, I mean, the president made it very clear in his campaign that there is not enough - there are not enough resources. What you just described is a formula and a blueprint for hampering our future. You cannot go forward - you have to cut some investments. If you cut too many, you're hampering growth, you're hampering education, our investments for the future," Pelosi said. " 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's position puts her directly at odds with GOP House Speaker John Boehner, who said tax rate hikes would be "unacceptable" during an interview with "World News" anchor Diane Sawyer earlier this month. Boehner has said he is open to rewriting the tax code and closing loopholes, which would result in additional revenue for the federal government, but has ruled out rate hikes for the wealthy.

Still, Pelosi said she maintains her past position that the country can't go over the "fiscal cliff" and seemed optimistic a deal could be cut after Friday's first fiscal cliff summit between President Obama and top congressional leaders at the White House. The "fiscal cliff" refers to a series of tax hikes and spending cuts that are scheduled to go into effect in January.

"Yes, I agree with myself. I do. And I quote myself from time to time as well. And here's the thing: We're all grown-ups. I mean, we talk about maturity and age; 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," Pelosi said. "The spirit at the table was one of everybody wants to make the best effort to get this done. Hopefully that is possible; 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 economy with demand, which creates jobs."

Raddatz also asked Pelosi about having been asked at a press conference this week if she should step down from her leadership role because of her age. The question, according to Pelosi, left her amused.

"I was amused. I was surprised at the response of my colleagues, because they just were very offended by it," Pelosi said. "Well, for me, I laughed, because I thought, 'Oh, they don't know what questions I have to be subjected to here all the time.' For me, this is a matter of course. But my colleagues, the women, we had 60 women gathered up there. And if you ever wanted to ask that question, you should save it for another day."

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