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The National Journal - Murray Seizes on GOP Fiscal Cliff Opening

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By: Elahe Izadi

Top Senate Democrat Patty Murray seized on a top House Republican's comments yesterday that the GOP should join President Obama on a quick fiscal cliff deal to push the House to pass middle class tax cuts before major budget or entitlement reform negotiations take place.

"When that is done, then we will continue to have a serious conversation about our country's budget future," she said of extending Bush-era tax cuts on households making less than $250,000. "There is no reason our middle class families should go into the holidays without knowing whether their taxes will go up."

Murray, speaking from the Senate floor Wednesday, highlighted yesterday's comments by Republican Rep. Tom Cole, who told his party's leadership that they should join with Democrats to extend middle-class tax cuts before pushing to freeze tax rates for the wealthy.

Cole argued that approving the middle-class tax cuts would rob Democrats of the argument that Republicans are responsible for the looming tax hikes and increase the GOP's leverage going into the new year.

"I'm hopeful that he can persuade other Republicans to do the right thing for middle class families and small business across the country," Murray said today.

Murray, the rising chair of the Senate Budget Committee, has been a key spokeswoman for liberal Democrats willing to go over the cliff rather than compromise their budget priorities.


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