With a deal to avoid drastic spending cuts behind them, members of Congress are gearing up for what could be another grueling round of negotiations over the federal debt-ceiling.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says members need to get to the bargaining table early this time.
The number two Democrat in the Senate told CNN’s Candy Crowley Sunday that he really doesn’t want to see a sequel to the so called “fiscal cliff” negotiations.
“What I’d rather see is a bipartisan approach starting soon, as soon as we return, between Democrats, Republicans, in the House and Senate, talking about where we go, for example, on tax reform,” Durbin said.
Durbin added that there is far too much wiggle room in the tax code.
“There are plenty of things within that tax code, these loopholes where people can park their money in some island off shore and not pay taxes,” Durbin said. “These are things that need to be closed.”
But getting any traction on tax reform as part of a deal to raise the debt-ceiling won’t be an easy sell.
Leading Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), have said they’re done talking about taxes and want the focus shifted toward spending cuts. And for that, Durbin said look no further than the Senate version of the Farm Bill which would save an estimated more than $20 billion over 10 years, but is stuck in the House.
He also said that former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel is a credible choice for Secretary of Defense, should President Obama choose to nominate him.
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