The Washington Times - June 14, 2011, 01:47PM

While both Democrats and Republicans continue to say that ongoing bipartisan deficit reduction talks between Congress and the White House have gone well, a major sticking point remains: whether or not to raise taxes.

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, on Tuesday restated his party’s position that any compromise should include increasing government revenue — Capitol Hill code for tax increases — despite GOP demands to the contrary.


“We cannot solve a very substantial fiscal problem without bringing revenues up,” Mr. Hoyer said during his weekly briefing with reporters at the Capitol.

“We expect revenues to be a part of any solution — Vice President Biden has made that very clear; the president’s made it clear — and so our expectation is they will be part of any solution.”

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican, on Monday reiterated his party’s stance that any increase in the debt limit must be accompanied by significant government spending cuts and no tax increases.

“Everything is on the table as far as I am concerned except for raising taxes,” Mr. Cantor said. “This place does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem.”

But Mr. Hoyer said, “There is a broader view than you might think [among Republicans] that revenues need to be a part of any effort to bring down the deficit and the debt.

“You won’t get there by simply with [spending] cuts.”

Mr. Biden has been meeting regularly since May with a bipartisan group of six members of Congress — three members each from the House and Senate — to discuss ways to lower the nation’s ballooning debt and to hammer out a deal to increase the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.

Exceeding the debit limit — the government’s legal limit on how much it can borrow to pay for its operations — could lead to the United States defaulting on its obligations.

The government technically breached the debt limit last month, though Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner has said he can juggle accounts to meet debt obligations until Aug. 2.