Baucus: We need revenue, and fast

The Montana Democrat’s comments come after House Republicans sent the White House a $2.2 trillion counteroffer on Monday that included $800 billion in new revenue – but not through higher rates.

President Obama’s administration has pushed for $1.6 trillion in new revenue, with more than half of that coming from immediately allowing tax rates for the highest earners on income, capital gains and dividends to rise. 

Obama has also said he won’t sign any bill that doesn’t include rate increases for the wealthy.

In his speech, Baucus stressed that policymakers shouldn’t effectively punt by extending all current tax rates and delaying automatic spending cuts – something that some analysts and business groups have suggested doing. 

“We should not put off the hard decisions with gimmicks or triggers,” said Baucus, who served on last year’s supercommittee, the failure of which set up the looming automatic cuts.

“That’s what got us here in the first place. It’s time to bite the bullet and make the tough decisions, and make them now.”

After taking care of those immediate issues, the Finance chairman added that Washington can turn to longer-lasting entitlement and tax reform.

“We are simply not raising enough revenue,” Baucus said. “We need real, significant new revenue this month. Once that revenue is locked in, we can then turn to overhauling our tax code for the modern economy.”