‘Radicalized’ GOP makes budget deal tough, says senior Dem

The top Democrat on the House tax-writing committee said that “radicalized” Republicans who are showing “no give” on revenues will make striking a broad fiscal policy deal very difficult.

Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.), ranking Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, said on C-SPAN that early in his three-decade congressional career, the atmosphere was quite different and there was more camaraderie.

“The Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee weren’t radicalized like is true today among so many Republicans,” he said on the “Newsmakers” program broadcast Sunday.

He said more broadly that GOP resistance to new tax revenues in a budget deal will make an agreement tough to strike.

Levin’s comments come ahead of this week’s roll out of competing House Republican and Senate Democratic budget plans, and as President Obama is stepping up efforts to woo Republicans.

“It is going to be very, very difficult when the Republicans essentially say, when it comes to revenues, there is no give, it is only spending cuts. It is hard to know how that is going to be resolved,” he said of prospects for a broad fiscal agreement.

The White House and Democrats are seeking new revenues as part of any wide-ranging deficit deal.

Levin called for raising revenues and cutting spending in a “balanced way.”

But many Republicans have said that revenues have already been addressed through the deal to avert the “fiscal cliff” enacted at the very beginning of 2013, which allowed expiration of Bush-era tax rates for the wealthy.

The deal included allowing taxes to rise on couples earning more than $450,000 annually and individuals earning over $400,000 annually. The agreement is estimated to raise $600 billion over a decade.

Levin, in the interview, also discussed prospects for a major overhaul of the tax code and more. Check out the whole thing here.