(CNN) - House Majority Leader Eric Cantor became another Republican on Capitol Hill to suggest he is willing to put aside the Grover Norquist-backed pledge he signed not to raise taxes when considering options to avert the so-called fiscal cliff.
Cantor said in interviews Monday that his Virginia constituents did not re-elect him earlier this month to a seventh term because he had signed the pledge not to increase tax rates advanced by Norquist's group Americans for Tax Reform.
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"I will tell you when I go to the constituents that have elected, re-elected me it is not about that pledge. It is really about trying to solve problems," he said in an interview on MSNBC. "We were not re-elected to raise taxes or increase marginal rates. We were re-elected to fix the problems, to get the economy going again and to fix the deficit."
Several Republicans, including Senators Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, have in the past week sought distance from the pledge, which has been signed by a majority of Republican lawmakers in Washington.
Led by House Speaker John Boehner, Republicans have put increased revenue on the table in negotiations to avert going over the fiscal cliff, which is a combination of federal budget spending cuts and tax increases for nearly all Americans that are set to go into effect in the new year. Congressional leaders and President Barack Obama are working to find a solution as economists predict going over the cliff would put the U.S. economy back into recession.
Boehner, Cantor, and others have said they are open to increasing revenue through capping or reduction of credits and other loopholes, but are opposed to raising rates. "Increasing marginal rates versus more revenues is the distinction there," Cantor said.
Obama favors increasing rates for wealthy earners and has said he agrees with Republicans on extending the tax cuts passed under former President George W. Bush for middle-income earners.
Republicans have advanced savings through reforms to entitlement programs, such as Social Security and Medicare.
"We fix the problem by number one getting a handle on these entitlements," Cantor said.
In a separate interview, he advocated for putting Obama's health reform law on the negotiating table, but could not say whether it had come up in discussions between congressional leaders and the White House.
"If the president is serious about joining us and fixing the problem, he ought to be putting Obamacare on the table," Cantor said on the Fox News Channel. "There's no question in my mind that's the largest expansion of government programs."
Boehner wrote in an op-ed published Wednesday "that the law has to stay on the table as both parties discuss ways to solve our nation's massive debt challenge."
A CNN/ORC International poll released Monday indicates two-thirds of people questioned believe the U.S. would face a crisis if the cliff is not averted, and more say they would blame the consequences on Republicans in Congress rather than President Barack Obama.
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