Democratic senator: Deal with the fiscal cliff after the election

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. Alex Brandon/AP
Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin said on Sunday that while President Obama takes responsibility for the still-lagging economy, it’s incumbent upon Congress to come up with a plan to increase American confidence in economic recovery.

“The president accepts responsibility [for the ailing economy], but he also believes that we are on the right track," he said on CNN’s State of the Union. "Returning to the economic policies of the Bush administration, which Romney endorses, would plunge us back again into a recession situation.”

With his comments, Durbin attempted to counter the Republican line that Obama has failed to take responsibility for the economy and instead blames others, like George W. Bush. Yet he also said it was absolutely the responsibility of Congress to deal with the budget cuts and expiring tax cuts looming at the end of the year that many economists say will result in the U.S. economy falling off a “fiscal cliff.”

Durbin said that he was optimistic that the president and Congress could come together to create a solution, though probably not before the election.

“With the president's leadership, we can come together. There is a bipartisan answer here that will reduce the deficit and still create an environment for economic growth,” he said, though he didn’t offer specifics.

Durbin said that action before the election was unlikely because, “in the next 100 days before the election, the political environment is not one for compromise and negotiation.” He said that instead of trying to move legislation before Election Day, Congress should prepare to pass a plan immediately afterward.

“If we're prepared, the day after the election, to move forward with a plan that restores confidence in the economy and the ability of Congress to react to it, it's gonna be a positive thing for us. I think we can do it,” he said.
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