CNN's Wolf Blitzer said Thursday that the Democratic fiscal cliff plan of raising tax rates on the top two percent of income earners is the "beginning" of a solution.
"But it's a beginning. A billion here, a billion there, it winds up being real money," Blitzer told Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) on Thursday's The Situation Room. Blitzer had already pushed House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to consider tax hikes in a fiscal cliff deal.
[Video below. Audio here.]
"It's incredible to me we're even talking about it because it doesn't solve a problem," DeMint scoffed at the Democratic plan. Blitzer interviewed DeMint hours after the Senator announced his resignation and move to become president of the Heritage Foundation.
"Doesn't solve, but it's a beginning," Blitzer answered. DeMint noted that "It runs the government for five or six days."
Earlier, Blitzer grilled DeMint over his vote against the UN disabilities treaty. He played a clip of House Minority Leader Pelosi accusing the treaty opponents of slapping "the face of our veterans, of people with disabilities, of families with children with disabilities."
A transcript of the segment, which aired on December 6 on The Situation Room at 4:37 p.m. EST, is as follows:
WOLF BLITZER: Should there be a compromise in order to avoid going over the fiscal cliff? John Boehner's already ready for $800 billion in increased tax revenue, not necessarily raising the marginal tax rate on the wealthy, but capping deductions, limiting loopholes. Are you with the Speaker of the House on that?
Sen. JIM DEMINT (R-S.C.): Unfortunately, Wolf, the policies of President Obama have already taken us over the cliff. If you meet with businesses like I do all the time, they've already pared back their plans and their hiring for next year, anticipating what's going to happen. So we can fix this Christmas Eve if we want, but we've already hurt the economy and hurt job growth.
BLITZER: Are you with Boehner?
DEMINT: I'm not with Boehner. Because this government doesn't need any more money. This country needs less government. We're going to have historic levels of revenue to the government this year. But we've doubled spending in the last ten years –
BLITZER: Everyone's taxes are going up at the end of the year if there's no deal.
DEMINT: Well, we have already offered to extend current tax rates. That's what we should have done six months ago until we could come to some agreement, some compromise on tax reform.
BLITZER: But when you say compromise, where are you ready to compromise as far as taxes are concerned?
DEMINT: How we go about tax reform, there's a lot of room to work together to lower the rates.
BLITZER: Give me an example.
DEMINT: I'm not sure where the Democrats are because they have not offered a plan.
BLITZER: Their plan is to keep the tax rates, the Bush tax rates from 2001, 2003, forever. Make them permanent. The top two percent, let them go from 35 percent to 39.6 percent, which is what it was during the Clinton administration.
DEMINT: It's incredible to me we're even talking about it because it doesn't solve a problem.
BLITZER: Doesn't solve, but it's a beginning.
DEMINT: It runs the government for five or six days.
BLITZER: But it's a beginning. A billion here, a billion there, it winds up being real money.
DEMINT: The President has known about this so-called cliff for over a year and has yet to present a plan that's comprehensive that actually reduces our deficit. So I'm willing to work with anyone who is willing to put a plan on the table, but our party or anyone should not sit down and negotiate with someone who had not put a plan on the table. And the President has not put a serious plan on the table.
BLITZER: So Ed, I want you to weigh in, because we're running out of time. But as far as a compromise on the marginal tax rate, 35 percent going up let's say 36 percent or 37 percent, is that acceptable?
FEULNER: No. No. Because marginal tax rate increases if there is any increase in revenue, it just gives them more to play with over on Capitol Hill and more to spend. When we talk about fairness, when the top two percent, the $250,000 and above are already paying 45 percent of total income tax, that's a big question of fairness there too.
-- Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center