The HillTube

Cantor: Dems must reveal spending cuts to move 'fiscal cliff' deal forward

"It's the specifics on the spending. There's been no discussions of specifics whatsoever," Cantor said, adding that reaching a deal on spending could "really move the ball forward on these negotiations."

ADVERTISEMENT
Cantor was responding to Hoyer's charge that the Republican alternative to the fiscal cliff is a good start, but is not specific on how it would generate $800 billion in revenue. Cantor replied to that by saying the purpose of ongoing meetings is to get to those specific details.

Hoyer also asked if House Republicans would allow a bill on the Senate-passed bill to maintain lower rates on middle-income earners, but Cantor said there are no plans to move that bill.

"I don't think it is a good thing right now to bring that bill to the floor, because we hope that we can have successful negotiations with the White House," he said. Cantor added that Republicans put forward a proposal that "actually deserve a response from the White House."

On other issues, Hoyer asked whether the House would soon be taking up a supplemental spending bill for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to pay for the costs of Hurricane Sandy. Cantor indicated he would look at legislation the Obama administration is expected to file that calls for $50 billion more in aid, and said that FEMA so far has been able to deliver aid.

"The FEMA director testified to the House yesterday that the agency can meet its needs through the spring, associated with the disaster," Cantor said. "Approximately $2 billion has been delivered, with about $5 billion remaining in the disaster relief pot.

"No one is here saying that we don't want to deliver necessary aid to the victims, because that is a priority. But, looking forward to receiving that request and taking a look at the numbers and the need to make sure we can move forward on that as well."

Hoyer asked about the chances of passing a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, and there, Cantor was optimistic.

"I am speaking with the vice president and his office in trying to resolve the issue of the differences surrounding the VAWA bill," he said. "This week I've actually been encouraged to see that we could very well see an agreement on VAWA, and I'm very hopeful that that comes about."

On the farm bill, Cantor said only that Republicans are aware that this bill needs to be completed this year, but offered no other details.