Jumping off the fiscal cliff may make Republicans more willing to compromise next year on raising taxes for the rich, said a prominent Democratic governor.
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley added that he believed Republicans should compromise earlier to remove what he called their “Tea Party obstructionist stench.”
Tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush expire at the end of the year. Republicans want to extend all the cuts, while Democrats say they should be ended for high-income taxpayers. The deadline is a central part of the fiscal cliff—the fear that, if Congress fails to act by the end of the year, the U.S. will fall back into recession owing to higher tax rates and spending cuts scheduled to take effect.
Democrats have differed in tone over the fiscal cliff, with some saying it must be avoided at all costs and others willing to entertain the idea of jumping over it as a bargaining tool to use with Republicans.
Mr. O’Malley seemed closer to the latter camp in a brief interview after a speech here. The governor said Republicans “may have painted themselves into such a corner that they are not able to support anything on the revenue part of this equation, even for wealthier Americans, until they are faced with the new terrain and the new reality that all of the Bush tax cuts have expired.”
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