VIDEO: Roskam Talks Fiscal Cliff, Tax Reform on CNBC
U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam says the fiscal cliff can be avoided, and thinks there is an opportunity to bring Republicans and Democrats together to work on tax reform.
He said there is a "tremendous opportunity" to avoid the fiscal cliff because of House Speaker John Boehner's comments Wednesday on a willingness to discuss more revenues.
"The House has already acted on one proposal that says move forward and extend the current tax rates for one more year, and use that as a bridge to tax reform," he said. "Before there were voices on the Democratic side that were saying, 'Well let’s just go over the fiscal cliff.' Well that’s a bucket of crazy. Nobody wants to go over the fiscal cliff, it’s ridiculous."
Roskam said he predicts President Barack Obama will extend tax rates this year as he did in December 2010 because the House will not pass a tax hike.
Boehner said in a press conference Friday after outlining a path to avert the fiscal cliff, the Congressional Budget Office released a report showing the most "harmful" consequences of the fiscal cliff come from higher tax rates.
According to Ernst & Young, he said, raising the top rates would "destroy" nearly 700,000 in the United States.
Roskam said Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid, Boehner and Obama need to act quickly and agree in principle to prevent the fiscal cliff.
He said now, there is a "unique opportunity" to push the tax reform agenda the House has been working on over the past two years.
"So this tax reform effort is all teed up, and the country is highly dissatisfied with the current tax code. It’s an incredible opportunity for everybody to come together," he said. "Nobody in their right mind should push us over this cliff."
Roskam won re-election in Illinois' 6th Congressional District Tuesday after getting 30,864 more votes than his challenger Leslie Coolidge.
He said Tuesday he plans to be a part of turning the economy around, and his work on the House Ways and Means Committee will be a platform to do so.
"Our tax code is a disaster, and most Americans recognize that it’s a disaster," he said, and a tax reform focused on competitiveness would give the United States "a much better footing" to compete with 95 percent of the world’s consumers outside the U.S.
In a statement at the White House Friday, Obama indicated he plans to meet with Reid and Boehner next week to "start to build consensus," according to NBC.