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Roskam Talks Fiscal Cliff on CNBC: Let's Find a Solution and Move Forward


Location: Washington, DC

Today, Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam (R-IL) appeared on CNBC's Squawk on the Street to discuss the best remedy for averting the "fiscal cliff".

House Republicans Want to Cut Spending and Avert the Cliff

The House of Representatives already acted on both of these issues as it relates to the fiscal cliff by arguing to extend the current rates for another year and use that as a bridge to tax reform. And we've already offered an alternative to sequestration. Now, the debate shifted to wait for the president and what he might propose, but the lion's share of the administration's argument so far has been all on the revenue side. And the president's own admission he said, "Look, there has to be a 3 to 1 ratio,' -- three dollars in cuts to every one dollar in revenue.

We are discussing, wringing hands, chatting, talking about revenues, but the White House has not come forward with anything as it relates to the cutting side. House Republicans have acted with the Ryan budget in the past, have won majorities again, with the second biggest House Republican majority since World War II, and we're ready to get to work. But we really do want to see the president lead on the spending side, in particular.

On the President's Opportunity to Be Transformational and
Revamp the Tax Code

Here's where the president has an unbelievable opportunity to eclipse this entire debate and to be the transformational president that he described himself as when he was a candidate in 2008 and that's this: there is nobody that's defending the current tax code. There's no voice that's out there saying that the current tax code is great. Instead, what the president can do is say, "I don't want to litigate the old tax code." Let's bridge this now and move and have a transformational tax code.

The House Ways and Means Committee under Dave Camp's leadership as chairman has been working on this and trying to focus in on how to make the United States the most competitive tax jurisdiction in the world. That's an opportunity.

The President Must Come Forward With Spending Cuts

I served with President Obama in the State Senate in Illinois, and I have had a perspective and an experience with him where I have seen him move beyond traditional donkeys and elephants on some controversial issues and be able to bring winsomeness to the debate.

I think the country is really interested in presidential leadership. He's talked a lot on the tax side. We need to hear more from the White House in terms of where these spending cuts are in order to gain a level of confidence among House Republicans, who also won big majorities last Tuesday.

On Protecting Small Businesses Owners

You know who's lost in the shuffle in this conversation? It's the small business owners that are largely pass throughs and LLCs that are clearly paying at the individual rate so if the individual rate goes up and they're earning more than $250 [thousand] then all of a sudden they're rich? That's a dry cleaner in my community who's now having a higher tax liability and looking at very little relief under the president's current plan…but I think it's very important that we're listening to the little manufacturers in suburban Chicago that also need a voice.

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