WASHINGTON (AP) — Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Thursday that Democratic demands for tax increases have brought budget negotiations led by Vice President Joe Biden to an impasse and that he's pulling out of the talks.
The Virginia Republican said in a statement that the Republican-dominated House simply won't support tax increases and that he won't be participating in a meeting scheduled for Thursday. Cantor said that it's time for President Barack Obama to weigh in directly on the budget because Democrats insist on pairing at least some tax increases with the spending cuts.
Cantor said that plenty of progress has been made in identifying trillions of dollars in potential spending cuts to accompany legislation to raise the $14.3 trillion cap on the government's ability to borrow money. The legislation is necessary to meet the government's obligations to holders of U.S. Treasuries.
"It is time for the president to speak clearly and resolve this tax issue," Cantor said. "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."
The Biden-led group has been meeting since early May, trying to come up with areas of agreement on curbing a budget deficit that's requiring the government to borrow more than 40 cents of every dollar it spends. Areas of tentative agreement include trimming farm subsidies, auctioning electromagnetic spectrum to communications companies, and cutting student loan subsidies.
But with Republicans unwilling to accept some higher taxes — even in the wake of a sweeping Senate vote to eliminate the ethanol tax subsidy — Democrats were unwilling to agree to tougher steps like curbing Medicare and Medicaid.