HOUGHTON - U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek said following an educational roundtable held at Michigan Technological University Monday he is hoping for a deal before Jan. 1 to prevent a large combination of automatic spending cuts and tax increases from taking effect.
President Obama initially requested $1.6 billion in new tax revenue over the next decade as an alternate way to cut the deficit. Republican House Speaker John Boehner has proposed half that much, which he would prefer to come through closing loopholes.
The two sides have also differed on cuts to entitlement spending. Obama proposed $350 million in cuts to health spending over the decade as part of earlier talks; Boehner has proposed $600 million.
Benishek said Monday he had not ruled out supporting additional taxes, but said more needs to be done on spending cuts.
"The president's plan about raising taxes, that doesn't solve the problem," he said. "You realize the president's tax increases pay for eight days of government. That's not a solution ... I haven't seen anything I want to vote for yet."
Benishek said he hadn't singled out any specific areas for cuts, but that something needs to be done.
"Across the board, I think that would work," he said. "Targeted ... we can't be spending money we don't have, that's all."
Monday also saw Michigan's Democratic Congressional delegation meet with Gov. Rick Snyder in an effort to persuade him not to sign new "right-to-work" legislation. Benishek declined to comment on the proposed law.
"I'm not even involved in that, I don't want to get involved in that," he said. "I think it's divisive. I think it's unfortunate to bring up this issue."