POLITICS
11/27/2013 01:43 pm ET Updated Jan 27, 2014

Eric Cantor Talks Budget During Tulsa Visit

T.J. Kirkpatrick via Getty Images

Congressional Democrats have all but given up on new taxes as part of a budget agreement, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Tuesday.

"We know we have a difference of opinion," Cantor said. "We have said no deal will include new revenue, and I think the other side has finally accepted that."

Cantor, a Virginia Republican, was in Tulsa for a fundraiser for 1st District U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine at the home of Mayor Dewey Bartlett.

"I'm really hopeful when we return to Washington next week that we will see some progress on a budget deal that will reflect what it is that we've been trying to do -- that is, affect mandatory spending in this country," Cantor said.

The inability of Republicans and Democrats to agree on the best way to curb budget deficits -- $1.4 trillion during the depths of the recession, now less than half that -- has prevented Congress from approving a budget during the Obama administration.

Instead, the federal government has operated on a series of budget extensions, called continuing resolutions.

The Republican-controlled House and Democratic-controlled Senate remained at such loggerheads this summer and fall that the government partially closed for 16 days in October, and the federal debt ceiling came within hours of being breached.

The current resolution is due to expire Jan. 15.

Republicans want reforms to so-called entitlement programs -- the mandatory spending mentioned by Cantor -- such as food stamps and Medicare.

Democrats want a combination of more moderate cuts to entitlement programs and some revenue increases.

Republicans say the Democrats have already gotten the revenue increases in the form of higher tax rates for the wealthiest Americans and taxes and fees associated with the Affordable Care Act.

Republicans -- and many Democrats -- are also upset about cuts to defense spending caused by sequestration, the budget reductions triggered by Congress' impasse.

"Savings on (entitlement programs) are smarter than sequestration," Cantor said.

"I'm hopeful we can manage a deal with no more continuing resolutions."

Tuesday's luncheon event at Bartlett's house was the second Bridenstine fundraiser Cantor has headlined.

He previously appeared here just days after the previously little-known former Navy flier upset incumbent John Sullivan in the 2010 Republican primary.

Randy Krehbiel 918-581-8365

randy.krehbiel@tulsaworld.com ___

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