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November 30th, 2012
10:20 AM ET

Democrats and Republicans struggle to reach a compromise to avoid the fiscal cliff

The fiscal cliff is just 32 days away. With Democrats and Republicans both refusing to compromise, Zoraida speaks to a representative from each party to sort through the details.  

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas says her main focus is to fight for the working class who is being ignored. "That is what the bottom line is for the president and for Democrats, to protect benefits in a reasonable manner, and to ensure that we have the revenue to bring down the deficit and to continue to operate in the needs of the American people," Lee said.

Kansas Republican Congressman Tim Huelskamp does not like the President's newest proposal, but does like some of Obama's past ideas, "I agree with the president from two years ago when he said you can't raise taxes in the middle of a recession. I think the economy is lower than it was last year. Slower than it was the year before, and we have this idea and notion that somehow raising taxes is going to create jobs."

As for compromising, the Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus Lee favors focusing on growing the economy and not increasing cuts. She wants the Republican party to see eye to eye on that priority as well, "If my Republican friends would think about the working people of America, stop the war on working people of America, and not adhere to the fact that in a recession, you must constantly focus on the deficit. Most economists say focus on growth," she said.

Huelskamp agrees with her that progress can only be made by focusing on gaining revenue, "We have about 23 million Americans looking for work. Raising taxes doesn't create jobs. If we want more revenue in Washington we need to grow the economy. We need to talk about ways we can grow the economy and get Washington out of the way so people can go back to work, he said."

Instead of pointing the blame at just one person or party, Huelskamp, the House Budget Committee member, says the problem lies in Washington as a whole, "I think one of the problems with Washington in general is these things are taking place behind closed doors. That didn't work out a year and a half ago when they put together a bad deal. Both sides, the president, majority leader, the speaker, that created this crisis."

Though she doesn't believe a resolution will be reached before Christmas, Lee is positive about avoiding falling off the cliff, "I am looking forward to reasonable men and women coming together as patriots, and ensuring that we will address this question for the American people." Huelskamp agrees that a a solution can be found if and when Congress focuses on the good of the nation, "It's not about Washington. It's not about what the politicians are thinking. It's about how do we create more jobs in America and get our economy growing again?"

Filed under: 2012 • Fiscal cliff • Politics
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