Honey, I raised the top tax rates: Outgoing husband and wife representatives at odds on fiscal cliff deal

Jonathan Karl, Richard Coolidge, Jordyn Phelps & Sherisse Pham
Power Players

Spinners and Winners

Husband-and-wife team Reps. Connie Mack, R-Fla., and Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif., got some bad news on November 6. Both lost their elections and are now leaving Congress at the same time. But they've got one foot out the door during one of the most controversial lame duck sessions in recent history. Neither is budging on their votes -- though they don't exactly see eye-to-eye on the ongoing fiscal cliff negotiations with the White House.

Bono Mack is more open to compromising on taxes than Mack is, joking that Spinners and Winners was trying to start a fight by bringing up the topic!

"I think if this is the best possible deal we can get, and for me I think that it is, I think we ought to go for it," Bono Mack said.

"She's for extending the tax cuts for the middle class, but we all know what that means—that means that what the bill actually is going to do is raise taxes on people who do make more than $250,000," Mack said. "A lot of us would say that that's raising taxes on small businesses, the very people that we rely on to go out and create jobs."

Bono Mack says she thinks President Obama and Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, will reach a deal that she will be able to support; Mack says if tax increases are part of the deal, it won't get his vote.

Bono Mack came to Congress in an unconventional way 14 years ago after her former husband, Rep. Sonny Bono, suddenly died. The brand new congresswoman found herself on the House Judiciary Committee in the midst of the Clinton impeachment hearings. She voted in favor of impeaching President Clinton at the time. Clinton is now one of the most respected political figures, but Bono Mack says she does not regret her decision, but says she thinks Republicans "overplayed their hand" at the time.

"It's not good to do it, it's not easy to do, it's not good for the American people, and if we should ever do it, it better be for very serious reasons, because it really tears us apart as a people," Mary said.

As for those incoming representatives, Mack has some advice: Build strong relationships with your fellow representatives, and don't get too attached to anything.

"If you ever question your permanency here, just look at your furniture," Connie said. "There's a bar code on the furniture in your office, and as quickly as they can move you in they can move you out."

To hear more from the Congressional couple, including their future plans, check out this week's Spinners and Winners.