Sessions said he thinks "a lot" of Republicans are fine with the idea of flattening the tax code by eliminating some deductions for the wealthy, which could generate revenue without raising marginal income tax rates. But he reiterated several times that Democrats have not made it clear that they want to use this money for deficit reduction.
"They say it's for deficit reduction, but the president's budget that he submitted to us in January would increase spending another $1.4 trillion, where as he's proposing now I think $1.6 trillion in new taxes," Sessions said.
"So if taxes are just … for more spending, I think the American people need to say, 'No, you need to bring your house under control before we send you another dime.'"
Both parties are expected to meet again this week to negotiate some way around the fiscal cliff — a combination of automatic tax increases and a required $109 billion cut to federal spending that many economists say would send the economy back into a recession. Sessions's comments indicate the difficulty negotiators are likely facing, as many Republicans want to use the talks to pare back federal spending, while many Democrats have talked about using the talks to shore up social programs though increased tax revenue.
Sessions lamented the lack of any "serious discussion" about reducing federal spending so far in the talks, and said he is worried about being presented with a completed package right before Christmas that he and others might not support.
"There's a lot of this talk going on. I don't know who is speaking for the Republican Party," he said.