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Washington Times - Rep. Bass predicts public will back Democrats in 'fiscal cliff' fallout

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By David Eldridge

Is the post-"fiscal cliff" blame game already under way?

A couple of Capitol Hill's more liberal lawmakers, Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who caucuses with Democrats, and Rep. Karen Bass, a California Democrat who is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, took swipes at their Republican colleagues on Saturday.

Ms. Bass said Republicans deserve most of the blame if the nation goes over the fiscal cliff -- the automatic spending cuts and tax hikes due to take effect in 2013 unless lawmakers can forge a long-term budget deal.

"I do think it looks bad for both houses, for both parties. But at the end of the day, I'm sorry but I just don't think it's equal. Democrats don't have a Grover Norquist that threatens the caucus if they even think about voting for taxes. And I do think that the U.S. public has seen the differences between the parties," Ms. Bass said in an interview on MSNBC on Saturday.

On the same network, Mr. Sanders said: "Nobody wants to go over this cliff."
But he said there is only one party to blame for the crisis.

"The problem that [House Speaker John] Boehner will have in the House is that his caucus is dominated by right-wing extremists."

Mr. Sanders shrugged off the suggestion that both parties share responsibilities for the crisis.

"I am not a Democrat, I am an independent, but here's the point: I don't think they are ... equivalent," he said.

The fiscal cliff solution, he said "should not be a balance on the middle class and the rich. The wealthy and large corporations are going to have to help us in a significant way deal with deficit reduction."

According to a Dec. 21 Wall Street Journal article, President Obama told Republicans he would use his upcoming inauguration address and his State of the Union speech to blame the GOP if talks fail.


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