New Fight Looming Over US Debt

Posted January 6th, 2013 at 5:15 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. lawmakers are getting ready for another political fight over the country's budget woes.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell warned Sunday his party will not consider any more tax increases. He told ABC television's This Week that “the tax issue is finished.” He said President Barack Obama and lawmakers now need to focus on cutting spending, calling Washington's “spending addiction” the nation's biggest problem.

But the top House Democrat says lawmakers still need to raise more revenue. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told CBS' Face the Nation” that the tax issue is still on the table.

Pelosi said lawmakers need to look at ending tax breaks for special interest groups and industries that are doing well and do not need them.

Congress last week passed a compromise deal combining tax hikes and spending cuts that puts off for now, much more drastic measures.

Meanwhile, White House and Congressional sources tell U.S. news agencies that President Obama will nominate former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel as the new Secretary of Defense as early as Monday.

This could lead to another fight with the White House — with some lawmakers accusing Hagel of being tough on Israel and willing to compromise with Iran.

Mr. Obama told NBC television last month that Hagel is a patriot who has done extraordinary work in the senate and served his country with valor during the Vietnam war. The U.S. Senate must approve the president's pick for defense chief.