POLITICS
04/04/2013 11:53 am ET Updated Apr 04, 2013

Eric Cantor Says Republicans Will 'See' About Additional Taxes, Then Says They Won't

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said "we'll see" about higher taxes if President Barack Obama proves he is "serious about fixing the problem" in an interview with the New York Times published on April 3.

New York Magazine drew attention to the quote on Thursday, noting Cantor quickly reinforced that Republicans would not back additional taxes.

The New York Times reports:

Even on the divisive tax issue, however, Mr. Cantor can sometimes sound as if he is leaving a door open. If Mr. Obama shows he is “serious about fixing the problem,” he said, “then we’ll see” about additional taxes.

(When pressed on the point, Mr. Cantor returned to his familiar position that the House would not back higher taxes.)

Cantor dismissed Obama in February for "not talking about" tax reform as massive budget cuts loomed.

"The problem is every time you turn around, the answer is to raise taxes," Cantor said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "He just got his tax hike on the wealthy. And you can't in this town every three months raise taxes. Again, every time, that's his response."

"The bottom line is we want tax reform, but we want to plug those loopholes that the president talks about, to bring down tax rates because we believe that's pro-growth and we can get [the] economy growing again, let people who earn the money keep more of it," Cantor said. "The president's not talking about that. He's talking about raising more taxes to spend."

Cantor again criticized Obama and Senate Democrats in an interview with CNN on March 14.

"There really [are] two separate visions of the way this country ought to go. On the one hand, we have the House budget that is –promotes a balance within 10 years, that can grow our economy, and that you can get people back to work with more jobs. On the Senate side, what you have is a budget calling for a trillion dollars of additional tax increases and you have more borrowing, more spending and never a balance," Cantor said. "So the real question for the American people is, which side would they come down on?"

Not everyone agrees with Cantor's tough stance against tax hikes. On March 17, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said he thought "Republicans, if they saw true entitlement reform, would be glad to look at tax reform that generates additional revenue."

UPDATE -- 12:07 p.m.: Cantor's spokesperson issued the following statement to HuffPost:

Leader Cantor did not open any doors to more tax hikes. President Obama has already hiked taxes several times, including on worker's income 12 weeks ago and the high taxes on American families and employers in Obamacare. As he has repeatedly said, it's time for Washington to address out-of-control spending with smart reforms and by cutting waste.

(Sam Stein contributed to this report.)

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