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McConnell, Pelosi Clash Over New Taxes in Fiscal Fight

Nancy Pelosi
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Nancy Pelosi

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi clashed on Sunday over the prospect of another round of tax increases on the wealthy.

In separate television appearances, Pelosi said she isn't ruling out pushing for higher taxes on upper-income earners, while McConnell ruled out raising tax revenue again entirely and insisted the focus turn to spending cuts.

On raising taxes on high earners once again, Pelosi told CBS' "Face the Nation" that "I'm saying that's not off the table." The California Democrats said she isn't getting into specifics, but she did discuss changes to tax law that might involve deductions and other breaks.

But McConnell remained adamant about eschewing further tax increases.

"The tax issue is finished, over, completed," the Kentucky Republican said on ABC's "This Week." "That's behind us. Now the question is what are we going to do about the biggest problem confronting our country and our future, and that's our spending addiction."

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell
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U.S. Senate Minority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell

In an another appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," McConnell said he favored tax reform, but it should not increase revenue.

McConnell said the White House should start working with Congress immediately to determine spending cuts to reduce the deficit, before the March deadline to raise the federal borrowing limit brings another fiscal crisis. "We could do things very quickly, these are not new issues," he said on ABC.

Pelosi, the former House speaker, told "Face the Nation" the current Republican Party isn't the "Grand Old Party that did so many things for America that commanded so much respect." She said the country needs a strong GOP, but she described the current party as a "really over-the-edge crowd" that's dominated by an element of "anti-government ideologues" committed to opposing President Barack Obama.

Congress and the White House reached a deal last week in the nick of time to avoid the fiscal cliff of severe tax increases and spending cuts that many economists said could have tipped the country into recession.

But Republicans complained the deal was focused almost entirely on raising revenue through a tax increase on families making more than $450,000 a year, and did not make significant spending cuts or reduce deficits.

Asked whether Republicans would threaten a U.S. credit default in its press for spending cuts, McConnell told ABC, "It's not even necessary to get to that point. Why aren't we trying to settle the problem? Why aren't we trying to do something about reducing spending?"