House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said tax increases remain the big the sticking point in the debt ceiling negotiations that will resume today at the White House and that he has sent a message loud and clear to the White House that the GOP will not back a tax increase.
Speaking with reporters Monday afternoon, Cantor was adamant that the House, dominated by Republicans, will not pass any debt reduction plan that calls for a tax increase, and he added that any deal to close "tax loopholes" such as those enjoyed by private jet owners, would have to be offset by additional tax cuts, so that no new revenue is raised.
"This is all over the same issue," Cantor said, describing the recent breakdown of talks in the White House as well as the failure of similar discussions held earlier this summer with Vice President Joe Biden.
House Speaker John Boehner called President Obama over the weekend, just hours before a scheduled meeting at the White House, to inform him he would not back the $4 trillion package Obama had been pushing to rein in the nation's deficit. That plan, Cantor said Monday, included $1 trillion in tax increases.
Cantor as well as Senate Minority White Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., abandoned the Biden talks when Democrats introduced a plan to raise revenue through a tax increase.
"I think the message has been heard at the White House and that I stated yesterday, that we are not going to raise taxes, " Cantor said. "The votes aren't in the House to raise taxes. If they want a vote on the debt ceiling they are going to have to come and meet us and we are going to have a package that does not have any net new revenue. Period. "
Despite this tough talk, there is still an area where the two sides could find compromise. Republicans could agree to eliminating some of the tax loopholes in exchange for a payroll tax reduction, for instance. Cantor said he would discuss the details of such an exchange at the White House meeting today.