McCaskill Would Compromise on Tax Cuts

Posted October 17, 2010 at 9:28am

Sen. Claire McCaskill said Sunday that she would be willing to compromise on extending the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts to wealthy Americans.

“I’m always open to compromise,” the Missouri Democrat said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I will go to the mat for the middle class. Nobody wants tax increases for the middle class. … I’m open to compromise for the top 3 percent.”

Congress adjourned last month before taking up the issue. The tax cuts, enacted under President George W. Bush, expire at the end of the year.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said he was “shocked” that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) “didn’t tee this issue up before the election.”

The tax cut issue was part of a larger discussion Cornyn and McCaskill had on “Fox News Sunday” about gridlock in Washington and moving forward on legislative priorities in the next Congress.

McCaskill said the number of far-right candidates who appear poised to win in the midterm elections could endanger the possibility of future bipartisan efforts.

“I am a moderate, I hang out in the middle, I vote against my party with some regularity and try to compromise,” McCaskill said. “It doesn’t appear right now that the Republican Party is welcoming moderates anymore. … I think independent voters need to take a hard look in these elections and realize what we may be getting to is the kind of gridlock that is frankly not desirable in terms of good policy in this country.”

Cornyn pushed back against McCaskill, arguing that compromise will depend on whether President Barack Obama continues with his current agenda or adjusts like President Bill Clinton did after Republicans swept the House in the 1994 elections.

“If the president is going to maintain his ideological stance and try to jam things through to support the left in America when we’re still a center-right country, then we are going to say ‘no,'” he said. “If he’s willing to work with us as Bill Clinton did after the 1994 elections to pass things like welfare reform, trade agreements and the like, we’ll certainly work with him.”

Still, Cornyn said the American people are most concerned with jobs, spending and debt.