Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said Sunday he expected the "recipe" for a tax-cut compromise to included extensions of unemployment benefits and Bush-era tax rates for all income brackets.
Appearing on CBS's "Face the Nation" with his Democratic counterpart, Dick DurbinDick DurbinSenate contradicts itself on Gitmo Dems to Clinton: Ignore Trump on past scandals How airport security lines got so bad MORE (D-Ill.), Kyl accused leaders of "wasting a week" of going through political maneuvers such as the Saturday session called by Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidMcConnell bashes Reid’s ‘inappropriate’ rhetoric Hillary's ObamaCare problem Sanders tests Wasserman Schultz MORE (D-Nev.).
A proposal by Finance Committee Chairman Max BaucusMax BaucusWyden unveils business tax proposal College endowments under scrutiny The chaotic fight for ObamaCare MORE
(D-Mont.) to extend the
cuts only for individuals with incomes of up to $200,000 and families
with incomes of up to $250,000 failed by a vote of 53-36. A proposal by Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerSchumer touts policy victories over Obama administration Puerto Rico debt relief faces serious challenges in Senate Overnight Healthcare: House, Senate on collision course over Zika funding MORE
extend cuts permanently for incomes of up to $1
million failed 53-37.
Schumer's bill included provisions such as a one-year extension of unemployment benefits and cuts in capital gains, estate and dividend taxes.
"I can tell you, without unemployment benefits being extended, personally, this is a non-starter," Durbin said, calling it "unconscionable" that some families would see their checks run out before Christmas.
Despite outstanding disagreements over which income brackets should get extensions and for how long, "In theory, I think an agreement could be reached in the near future," Kyl said.
Durbin, who pointed out that he would note vote for a permanent extension of cuts in the disputed income brackets, agreed that the Senate was "moving in that direction" of an agreement, but heavily stressed Democratic talking points of not extending the tax cuts to the wealthiest.
Speaking on NBC's "Meet The Press" to host David Gregory, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellMcConnell: ‘Ticket-splitting’ will preserve GOP Senate majority The Trail 2016: Biting the hand that feeds him McConnell: Trump should release his tax returns MORE
(R-Ky.) said he believed a deal will be reached, but Sen. John KerryJohn KerryClinton allies see big boost from Brown endorsement Budowsky: The campaign from hell Lew, Kerry heading to Asia for high-level meetings MORE (D-Mass.) blasted Republicans
for pandering to the rich to the exclusion of the country's middle
class. Both interviews had tense moments — pressed by Gregory on a
statement made Saturday by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that the
nine-year-old tax cuts have failed to stimulate the economy, McConnell
"This argument is over," he told Gregory. "You and I can continue to
engage in it, but it's over. The Senate voted yesterday. Every
Republican and five Democrats said, 'We're not raising taxes on anybody
in the middle of a recession.' "
Kyl stressed the GOP argument that "in an economic downturn it's not a good idea" to raise anyone's tax rates.
The majority whip countered that the Republican position was to continue Bush economic policies that "utterly failed" and led the country into recession. "We are laser-focused on this jobs issue," Durbin said.
"Those tax rates ... did not create the problem that we have today," Kyl countered. "Without the taxes being where they are, the situation would have been much worse."
Reports have indicated that a deal is in the works between the
White House and congressional Republicans to extend the cuts for two
years, and to extend unemployment benefits for one year, among other
provisions. McConnell repeatedly refused to endorse the idea, however.
would be absolutely irresponsible to sit here on a Sunday talk show and
blow the talks by starting to endorse and rule out things," he said.
"What I'm saying is, 'This is the road map. We need to sit down with
the president, and see what we can do together.' ... I'm prepared to
sit down with the president and see what we can do on a bipartisan
Speaking minutes later, Kerry said
there remains "an enormous divide" between Democrats and Republicans
over the appropriateness of the cuts.
are fighting to keep in place a policy that has failed over the last
eight years," Kerry said. "It has failed. We have a net loss of jobs.
And what we've seen is a Republican party that is absolutely prepared
to deny unemployment insurance to people who have been laid off, who
can't pay their bills and want to put food on the table for their
families. They've said, 'No, we're willing to hold that hostage so we
can give the wealthiest people in the country a bonus tax cut."
reminded Gregory that the Democratic proposal for the tax cuts would
give all Americans a tax cut, even the most wealthy, up to $250,000 of
their income. He called the GOP insistence on tax breaks for
higher-income earners a "bankrupt, fundamentally reckless" position.
the least effective way of creating jobs and putting impact into the
economy," Kerry said. "We want to extend the tax cuts for every single
American, but only up to a level that makes sense for our economy. You
talk about uncertainty for our economy — how much uncertainty is there
when you add $800 billion to the deficit?"
also said economic studies have shown that tax cuts for wealthy
Americans only returns about 30 cents per dollar, compared to $1.60
that is returned into the economy for every $1 spent on unemployment
"There are multiplier effects
that are a reality of our economic laws," Kerry said. "Republicans are
ignoring them, in order just to feed the upper end. And they're willing
to hold unemployment insurance hostage to that."
Kerry then slammed McConnell and other GOP leaders for a perceived refusal
to compromise as he said Democrats have been willing to do.
just had the Republican leader sitting here, and all he talked about was
a need for the president to come to them. All he talked about was doing
things that made them comfortable. That's not how you compromise. They
need to have a little discomfort, just like we have a little
Durbin said the looming holiday break would motivate Congress into hammering out an agreement on the tax cuts, which expire at the end of the year.
"It's almost Christmas Eve," Kyl said. "I don't think anyone thinks we can leave this thing hanging."
—This story was updated at 12:20 p.m.