Key House Republican: Tax Hikes May Be Unstoppable


A leading House Republican told CNBC Tuesday that the GOP remains opposed to raising tax rates but may be powerless to prevent it.

"House Republicans are going to work hard to minimize the increase in tax revenues," Rep. Jeb Hensarling, chairman-elect of the Financial Services Committee told "Squawk Box". "I don't know what I can do to stop it."

As part of the "fiscal cliff" talks, House Republicans have offered to raise $800 billion in revenue by closing loopholes and deductions. But other Republicans, including Sen. Bob Corker, who spoke to CNBC, think the GOP should just give in on tax increases and move on.

Hensarling: Obama Gets 'A' for Honesty, 'F' for Effort

Hensarling, however, thinks the problem is too much spending, not too little taxes.

"This talk about taxes is irrelevant," said the Texas Republican. "America is facing a debt crisis. It's spending-driven."

"You can't solve the [fiscal cliff] on the revenue side," he added. "Otherwise we're going to be looking at tax rates that would make France's new socialist government blush." (Read More: France a Has 'Fiscal Mountain')

Hensarling favors a Simpson-Bowles type of approach, which brings down rates and broadens the tax base, while implementing aggressive spending cuts and entitlement reform.

"When you ask where should you cut, where shouldn't you cut?"

He said he's "willing to cut anywhere in the budget" to take the nation off the road to insolvency.

By CNBC's Matthew J. Belvedere; Follow him on Twitter @Matt_SquawkCNBC