By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Negotiations will continue this week in Washington as lawmakers try to avoid the so called fiscal cliff, that could result in dramatic tax increases for all Americans as well as sharp across the board cuts to everything from schools, to the military to social programs.

Republican leaders says they are willing to look at ways to increase the amount of tax dollars the government takes in but only if they can avoid raising tax rates.

Republican leaders including House Speaker John Boehner say they are willing to consider increasing revenue — that’s the amount of tax dollars the government collects. But that’s a problem because nearly all Republicans in Congress including Speaker Boehner as well as all four current Republican Members of the Minnesota Delegation have signed a pledge not to raise taxes.

It’s a dicey balancing act that could involve closing loopholes and drastically limiting or even eliminating deductions for the wealthy.

Republican Congressman Erik Paulsen appeared on WCCO Sunday Morning.

“We can construct a tax code that won’t negatively impact the middle class that can close deductions and loopholes that primarily wealthier individuals take advantage of but the important aspect is that we are not just talking about rates because if we just talk about raising rates that will impact the small business community, that’s about 700,000 jobs,” he said.

Democrats insist the fairest way to raise money is to let the Bush tax cuts on those households making more than $250,000 a year expire.

But Democrats will certainly have to bend on entitlement spending cuts. While the pressure on both sides to compromise is overwhelming, a recent poll says if no deal is reached more than half of Americans say they will blame Congressional Republicans and only 29 percent will blame the President.

You can watch WCCO Sunday Morning with Esme Murphy and Matt Brickman every Sunday at 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.


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