Cantor & Kyl walk out of negotiations to protect tax breaks for those who make over $500K

On Thursday this week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) walked out of budget negotiations over a dispute with Democrats about raising revenues. Today, more details emerged about exactly what Republicans happened and why the walk-out.

From Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), a member of the bipartisan debt discussion group led by Vice President Joe Biden, said that Republicans chose to “protect taxpayer subsidies for big oil companies, tax breaks for corporate jets, and tax breaks for millionaires”:

Democrats want to close tax loopholes that benefit oil companies, and eliminate a tax preference that gives corporate aircraft a friendlier depreciation schedule than commercial aircraft. Additionally, Van Hollen said, Democrats were proposing to phase out tax deductions and certain credits for people making more than $500,000 a year. These would be paired with a reduction in the tax burden on lower earners, by eliminating existing limitations on their deductions.

“The message Republicans sent was…unless we accept their lopsided approach…they’re prepared to tank the economy,” Van Hollen said.

Cantor’s spokesman, Brad Dayspring, described the impasse as being over “Democrats’ push to raise taxes” on “individuals, small businesses, and employers,” which is the language Republicans often use to make their position sound more pleasant sounding than “defending tax breaks for millionaires.”

Democratic aides also said Republicans’ refusal to consider defense spending cuts to alleviate painful cuts to domestic programs was “central” to the negotiation breakdown. As Democrats have repeatedly emphasized, it’s impossible to improve the country’s debt situation without raising revenues or by slashing discretionary spending alone.