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Top Democrat: Boehner 'Wants to Reach an Agreement'

Rep. Steny Hoyer
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Rep. Steny Hoyer

In a rare display of bipartisanship, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer defended House Speaker John Boehner, saying the Ohio Republican "legitimately wants to reach an agreement" on the "Fiscal Cliff."

"[Boehner] understands that...now is the time for an agreement," the Maryland Democrat told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Wednesday. "I think John Boehner wants to get there, and I want to help him do that."

The House Speaker is facing a revolt among conservatives in his party after proposing $800 billion in new revenues over 10 years by closing loopholes and deductions but not raising tax rates.

"[That's] a tax increase, and I am not going to vote for a tax increase because it hurts economic growth," said GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio.

Tea Party favorite Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina said Boehner's plan will "destroy American jobs." (Read More: Obama Says Tax Rate Cut for Wealthy Possible.)

President Barack Obama, meanwhile, said Boehner's plan doesn't go far enough, telling business leaders Wednesday that "we can probably solve this in a week" if Republicans accept higher tax rates on the wealthy. (Read More: Obama: 'We Can Probably Solve This in a Week')

In the CNBC interview, Hoyer repeatedly stressed the need for a deal. He said it should be a balanced approach of new revenues in the form of tax increases for wealthier Americans, cuts in spending and a way to address entitlements.

"The best stimulus package we could pass would be a credible plan that gets us to a fiscally sustainable place in the next 10 years."

Follow Matthew J. Belvedere on Twitter @Matt_SquawkCNBC

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