Roby: Everything but tax hikes on table in debt talks

Republicans are willing to consider anything and everything in the debate over raising the debt limit -- except for tax hikes, according to Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.).

Delivering the weekly GOP address, Roby echoed party leadership in saying that major spending cuts must accompany any increase to the debt ceiling, and that tax increases will not be considered.

"Republicans have made clear that there will be no increase in the national debt limit, unless it is accompanied by significant spending reforms that truly change the culture of spending in Washington," she said. "To get there, everything should be on the table -- everything, that is, except tax increases."

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Vice President Joe Biden said after the third round of debt talks between Democrats and Republicans Thursday that he and lawmakers are discussing all aspects of the federal budget, including tax increases and possible cuts to entitlement programs like Medicare.

Roby also said it was vital for Washington to cut spending and tackling rising oil prices if it wants to get the economy moving.

"Washington is a part of the problem. It is failing to promote policies that will put our economy on a path to prosperity," she said. "Washington's failure to enact policies that promote long-term economic growth and balance the budget is creating uncertainty for employers and consumers alike."

She singled out the recent spike in gas prices as a key example of government policies hurting, not helping, the nation's economy.

"Year after year, politicians in Washington talk about steps to ease the pain at the pump, but they never act," she said.

She criticized the White House for failing to tap domestic energy resources, while touting House GOP efforts to "expand domestic energy production to help address the soaring gas prices."

The budget plan put forward by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and passed by the House prevents future tax increases, she said. And while Democrats have blasted Ryan's plan for its proposed overhaul of Medicare, Roby argued it helps preserve it.

"The great threat is doing nothing," she said. "If we do nothing, Medicare will simply run out of money. Without action, seniors' benefits will be cut."

She also emphasized that under the Ryan plan, seniors 55 and older would not be affected by the proposed changes.

She also used the address to express her thanks for support her home state has received in the wake of the April tornadoes that swept the Southeast, adding that people back home were coming together to support each other.

"Their perseverance and strength only motivates me more as their representative in Congress," she said. "I owe it to them not to let this critical moment pass without acting to ensure the American Dream is alive and well for our children and grandchildren.  If everyone in Washington felt the same way, we could accomplish a great deal more."