Republican Senator Slams Democrats For Tax 'Gymnastics' On The Fiscal Cliff

Pat Toomey

Photo: Courtesy of Brookings Institute

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) slammed Democrats on Tuesday for willingly driving the country off the fiscal cliff to create “smoke and mirrors” to cause taxes to rise before going back to cut taxes later.”That these very prominent folks, knowing that this multi-trillion dollar increase would cause a recession. … They want to do it anyway,” he said during an address at the Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. “You have to ask yourself why.”

“I’m not interested in these gymnastics in raising taxes and then going back and cutting them,” Toomey continued.

Toomey, who served as a member of the Congressional debt “super committee” that failed to agree on deficit reduction plan last year, took specific shots at Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.).

Murray said at the Brookings Institute on Monday that “if we can’t get a good deal – a balanced deal that calls on the wealthy to pay their fair share – then I will absolutely continue this debate into 2013, rather than lock in a long-term deal this year that throws middle-class families under the bus,” the Christian Science Monitor reported.

“She’s suggesting to risk plunging this country into a recession for an 8 per cent solution,” Toomey said. “It’s a political and ideological idea. It certainly doesn’t solve the problem.”

The senator defended his deficit reduction proposal’s tax cuts, saying that the middle and working class would not bear the entire burden of the cost, although critics like Murray argue otherwise.

“We started off by stipulating that we would make the adjustments necessary … to ensure that no one paid additional taxes but the top two brackets,” he said. “We’re not unaware of the political environment. None of us want to be raising taxes on middle class Americans.”

Toomey also acknowledged that the debate will ultimately be shaped by the November election, “The environment will very much be driven by the election,” he said.

Update: Senator Patty Murray responded to Toomey’s speech through a published statement. “Just this morning, the Republican Senator from Pennsylvania gave a speech about his plan for even deeper tax cuts for the rich, down to just 28% for the wealthiest Americans. It’s stunning. While Democrats are fighting for tax cuts for the middle class, Republicans are not only holding them hostage to continue the tax cuts for the rich, they are also scheming ways to cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans even more. But their rhetoric is not going to fool the families and small business owners across America.”

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