- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 5, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) — A leading House Democrat thinks members of Congress could reach a deal to avoid a government default if they could get past the semantics of tax increases.

Rep. James E. Clyburn, South Carolina Democrat, said Tuesday on MSNBC that one of the biggest obstacles in talks to resolve the issue is that many Republicans consider closing tax loopholes to be the same as raising taxes. This is a problem, he said, because most House Republicans have signed a no-new-taxes pledge.

Mr. Clyburn said a short-term deal to avoid default on Aug. 2 might be the only viable option “if we can’t get a longer-term deal.”

The veteran congressman added, “If you consider closing loopholes raising taxes, that keeps us from having a good conversation about where to go from here — and that’s the problem.”