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Lawmakers turn from election to looming fiscal crisis

With the political dynamics in Washington unchanged after Tuesday voting, Congress and the president have to find common ground to avoid “fiscal cliff.”
by Chris Casteel Modified: November 8, 2012 at 12:06 am •  Published: November 7, 2012

But Republicans, who will still have a strong majority in the House next year, won't go along.

“That's a nonstarter,” Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, said Wednesday.

The economy is still as fragile as it was in 2010 when the president and congressional Democrats decided to extend the tax cuts, Lankford said.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Wednesday said tax reform, which would limit the deductions claimed by the wealthiest taxpayers, would bring in additional revenue and meet the president's requirement for a balanced approach toward reducing the deficit.

Coburn's efforts

Coburn, who has been working behind the scenes with Senate Democrats and Republicans on a broad deficit reduction plan, said there was no question that the wealthy benefited most from the tax code as written. Coburn has endorsed changes that would limit tax loopholes for those in upper brackets to bring in more federal revenue.

Coburn and Cole said a resolution will depend on how well Obama and Boehner can negotiate.

“The Obama-Boehner relationship will determine the shape of American politics and whether we can be successful in the next four years,” Cole said.

Lankford said he had assumed the voters would have resolved the deep conflicts in Washington.

“I do hope this all works out,” he said.

“In reality, I couldn't tell you.”

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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