WASHINGTON – One day after the debt limit negotiations fell into disarray, Sen. Chuck Schumer made it clear that Democrats won't accept any deal that doesn't include revenue increases along with spending cuts.
"Make no mistake: there needs to be revenues in any deal," the New York Democrat told reporters Friday on a conference call. "Republicans cannot insist on protecting tax breaks for millionaires at the expense of our economy."
Taxes and revenues are the sticking point in the bipartisan negotiations to raise the nation's fast-approaching debt ceiling of $14.3 trillion. That's why House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) abruptly walked away from the discussions Thursday.
"I believe that we have identified trillions in spending cuts," Cantor, the lead GOP negotiator until yesterday, said in a statement. He fretted that "the Democrats continue to insist that any deal must include tax increases. There is not support in the House for a tax increase, and I don’t believe now is the time to raise taxes in light of our current economic situation."
For Republicans, any provision to boost government revenues is problematic, but Schumer said Democrats won't support massive spending cuts otherwise.
Schumer said Republicans will need Democratic support to pass any deal, and "that means the final deal will have to include some Democratic priorities." "They cannot insist they want it all their way."
The revenue increases don't necessarily need to be tax hikes -- Democrats are open to rolling back corporate subsidies through tax credits and loopholes.
On the call, Schumer and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) hammered home their message that Republicans are protecting the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.
Schumer all but ruled out a short-term ceiling increase to cover the August 2 deadline. "We want to avoid a shorter-term debt limit increase at all costs," he said, warning that such a move will "rattle the markets."