Rep. Cole: Boehner Made 'Great Opening' Move by Offering to Increase Taxes

By Melanie Arter | December 6, 2012 | 11:44 AM EST

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.)

( - Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said Tuesday that the proposal that House Speaker John Boehner sent to the White House Monday – which includes reducing tax deductions – is “an enormous step forward” by Republicans in making concessions to avoid the fiscal cliff.

“I think it’s a great opening start. Actually, it makes very tangible what the speaker committed to after the election, which is we’re going to put revenue on the table, so that question is settled, and we’re now talking about how much and what way. But that is an enormous step forward honestly by the Republicans or concessions,” Cole said.

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“It’s not something we want to do, but we recognize we have to do to get there. Second, I think the speaker’s proposal directs us toward what some of the real problems are, which are really entitlement spending. That’s what’s driving the debt, and we can’t pussyfoot around it. You can’t solve this with just revenue,” he said.

As reported, Boehner said Wednesday he will raise taxes on the rich but not by raising tax rates.

“America faces a very serious problem,” said Boehner. “And our goal is to make sure it gets solved. We have a debt problem that is out of control. We've got to cut spending and I believe that it's appropriate to put revenues on the table.

“Now,” said Boehner, “the revenues we're putting on the table are going to come from guess who? The rich.”

Cole said “fundamental and real reform” is necessary to solve the budget problem.

“And while we like the Ryan budget, and I still think that would be the appropriate way to go, the speaker basically picked up elements of some of the proposals that Erskine Bowles and Senator Simpson had made, and I think again in an effort to try and reach toward,” he said.

Cole said Boehner deserves “a lot of credit for a terrific effort and a great opening position and what now hopefully will be a productive discussion.”