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Sanders: Going Over 'Fiscal Cliff' Better than Bad Tax Deal

Senator says new Congress could recover 'in the first month or two'

- Common Dreams staff

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said Monday that if the lame-duck Congress can't agree on a tax deal by the end of the year, briefly going over the "fiscal cliff" is preferable to accepting a bad deal.

(Photo: dailyagenda.org.) “Is it better to deal with this issue in the next session rather than accept a bad agreement in this session?” Sanders said during a press conference at his Burlington office. "Yes, it is.”

The "fiscal cliff" refers to a package of severe tax increases and cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid set to automatically go into effect on Jan. 1.

Sanders said Republicans who support the plan are "way, way outside the mainstream," The Burlington Free Press reports.

“Obviously, I would prefer to not go over the fiscal cliff,” Sanders said. “I hope we can reach an agreement now, but if we can’t, we will reach it in the first few months of the next session.” He said Congress could then address the "fiscal cliff" situation in "the first month or two of the new session without any damage whatsoever."

Sanders advocated for increasing taxes on the wealthy, closing corporate tax loopholes, cutting defense spending and tracking down individuals and companies that hide money in off-shore accounts.

He also said he hopes the Senate will change the filibuster rule that in many cases requires a 60-vote majority to pass legislation, according to The Republic.