Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., said today he is pessimistic that Congress and President Obama will be able to reach agreement on the so called "fiscal cliff" before tax hikes and mandatory budget cuts take effect Jan. 1.
Amodei, speaking by telephone from Washington, DC, said the sniping back and forth by Republicans and Democrats over extending tax cuts and cutting spending doesn't get to the real root of how to reduce the federal deficit over the long term.
Getting the country's economy back on track so jobs are created and consumer spending rises will do more to generate tax revenues and reduce the deficit than any level of tax hikes or spending cuts, Amodei said.
"You can talk all the revenue you want, and you can talk all the cuts you want, you need a healthy economy to get things going again," he said. "And I don't hear any of that. I just hear all the mud throwing on taxes and cuts."
If the federal treasury was collecting revenue at 2007 levels, the federal deficit this year would be cut in half, Amodei said.
Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., also said today that reaching a deal on the fiscal cliff before Christmas will be difficult.
Despite the apparent lack of progress, national news media were reporting that President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner exchanged new offers on taxes and spending to avoid the cliff, which will take effect on Jan. 1 without an agreement. Without agreement, taxes on all workers will rise, and mandatory cuts in military and domestic spending will be implemented.
Amodei said the problem with raising taxes is that it won't help to get the economy back on track.
Fixing the regulatory and tax climate to provide certainty and predictability will give businesses the confidence they need to hire more workers and reinvest, he said. Instead they are facing a tax increase because of the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.
"You look at that impact on businesses and they're putting all their energy right now into how to convert their workforces into part-time employees," he said.
"If I was going to go down to Virginia Street or Las Vegas Boulevard and bet on something, I'd bet on nothing happening and all this stuff kicking in on the 1st," Amodei said.