Schumer: 'Chastened' GOP makes deal possible on fiscal cliff

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Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he’s optimistic a deal can be struck on the fiscal cliff because Republicans, “chastened” by the election, will be ready to compromise on taxes.

“Boehner wants to compromise; that’s why he gave that speech,” Schumer told MSNBC’s "Morning Joe" on Friday. “He’s not a hard-right guy, he’s a mainstream conservative … and I think it’s going to help because the hard right is chastened in a lot of ways.

“You know, democracy works in its slow, grinding ways. All these Tea Party guys … didn’t campaign on the same platform they campaigned on in 2010 … so I think they’re going to be less hard-nosed,” he said.

On Wednesday, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he was willing to consider higher tax revenue as part of a deal to lower the deficit and insisted he was optimistic the two sides could forge a bipartisan deal.

“I'm the most reasonable, responsible person here in Washington,” he said. “The president knows it. He knows that he and I can work together. The election's over. Now it's time to get to work.”

Raising any tax revenue could be difficult for Boehner given opposition in his conference. Most House Republicans have signed a pledge not to raise taxes.

Both sides have sought to put out markers on what Tuesday's election means for negotiations surrounding the fiscal cliff, a set of tax hikes and spending cuts set to be implemented in January.

Obama won an impressive victory over Republican Mitt Romney, winning just two fewer states than in 2008, although his margin of victory was smaller in most states. Democrats also picked up seats in the House and Senate, though Republicans retained control of the lower chamber.

Schumer said the election was a signal the American people wanted compromise.

“The election, what did it say?” he continued. “You elected a Republican House, and what was their watch-word: cut spending. You elected a Democratic Senate and a handsome victory for President Obama. What was our platform? The wealthy should pay a little bit more and there should be new revenues. Just marry the two. The trick will be if Speaker Boehner’s instincts to preserve the Republican Party and preserve the nation, in a certain sense, will prevail over the hard right. He needs some help.”

Schumer said in return, Democrats would be willing to negotiate changes on matters close to their party, such as Medicare and Medicaid, and indicated Obama might say as much in an address from the East Room of the White House on Friday.