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December 29, 2012

Tierney says deal needed

(Continued)

Hardliners have put enough fear in the rest of the Republican caucus that if they go against this group, incumbents might face a challenge for their seat from within their party, Tierney said.

“I think that some people are concerned about the ability to be challenged in the next primary,” Tierney said.

Tierney said Democrats have been willing to come to the table.

“One thing is for certain: the president and the Democrats, because we have been supportive of his efforts, have been more than willing to compromise,” Tierney said, including cutting spending. But those overtures, he said, have been stonewalled by Republicans.

He described House Speaker and Ohio Republican John Boehner’s Plan B proposal earlier this month, a tax increase on those earning more than $1 million, as a “nonstarter.”

“He couldn’t get his caucus to go along with that,” Tierney said.

Tierney said he’s concerned that if the country goes over the fiscal cliff, people could lose their unemployment benefits, food assistance could be cut, middle-class families would lose the earned income tax credit, and taxes would go up for families earning less than $250,000, among other things. Some of these impacts will not be immediate, but they will impact people eventually.

Tierney said the House is set to vote tomorrow evening, though nothing concrete had been proposed as far as he knew by early yesterday afternoon.

Tierney said voters will be appreciative of those who find a way to avoid sending the country over the fiscal cliff, even if certain lawmakers suffer a political setback within their own party.

“Uncompromising postures are not good for the legislative process,” he said.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.

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