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Rep. Eric Cantor pulls out of Biden deficit talks

June 23, 2011|By Lisa Mascaro
(Alex Wong, Getty Images )

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the House majority leader, said Thursday he was pulling out of deficit reduction talks, throwing into jeopardy the ability of the White House-led negotiations to strike a budget deal with congressional leaders by this summer's deadline.

Cantor cited an impasse over the tax issue, and pressed President Obama to more forcefully lead the negotiations to a conclusion.

"Democrats continue to insist that any deal must include tax increases," Cantor said in a statement. "There is not support in the House for a tax increase, and I don't believe now is the time to raise taxes in light of our current economic situation.

"Regardless of the progress that has been made, the tax issue must be resolved before discussions can continue," he went on. "Given this impasse, I will not be participating in [Thursday's] meeting and I believe it is time for the president to speak clearly and resolve the tax issue."

Cantor did not tell the group of his withdrawal. The group has been meeting almost every day this week -- and weekly since May -- to strike a budget reduction deal that would garner support for a vote in Congress for raising the nation's $14.3-trillion debt limit by Aug. 2.

Failure to do so would lead to a catastrophic federal default, experts have said. The group is scheduled to meet again Thursday.

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