Biden: New taxes needed as part of debt limit bill

By ANDREW TAYLOR | May 24, 2011 | 6:44 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday that new tax revenues need to be part of any agreement with Republicans on legislation to raise the limit on how much money the government can borrow to continue to meet its obligations.

"I've made it clear today ... revenues have to be in the deal," Biden told reporters after meeting with GOP negotiators.

The vice president's pronouncement puts the Obama administration at odds with Republicans, who insist tax increases are "off the table." Republicans declined to comment as they left the meeting.

The vice president also says talks are on pace to produce deficit cuts exceeding $1 trillion and that the talks will extend to procedural mechanisms known as "triggers" to force further automatic deficit cuts of up to $4 trillion if lawmakers are unable to come up with the savings in future legislation.

Biden is the lead negotiator for the administration on legislation combining the debt limit increase with spending cuts demanded by Republicans.

"We're making progress," Biden said. "Our Republican friends and the Democrats think we're making progress. We're confident that if we keep on this pace we can get to relatively large numbers."

The negotiations are expected to take weeks as Congress faces an Aug. 2 deadline to avoid a first-ever, market-rattling default on U.S. obligations. It's a politically perilous vote made more difficult by the influx of tea party-backed Republicans who propelled the GOP into control of the House.

President Barack Obama has set out a goal of cutting the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 12 years. Biden said the initial wave of cuts would be less but that future legislation could meet the goal.

"I think we're in a position where we'll be able to get well above a trillion dollars ... in terms of what would be a down payment," Biden said. "We're going to be discussing trigger mechanisms and how do we do that to get to $4 trillion."