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McIntyre confident of fiscal cliff deal after Christmas

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Hours after House Speaker John Boehner's so-called "Plan B" to solve the fiscal cliff fell apart last night, Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-7th District) says he's confident a deal will be reached soon. McIntyre spoke to WWAY by phone this morning shortly after arriving home in North Carolina after the House recessed for Christmas.

"Several of my colleagues and I had written to the speaker urging him to include a long-term deficit reduction plan that we could work together on," McIntyre said. "Obviously the Plan B was not the way to go. He could not even get the support of the members of his own party for that, so clearly it was not bi-partisan."

Boehner admitted he pulled his plan last night before the House could vote on it because it lacked enough votes to pass.

Despite the struggle to get a deal done before a combination of tax increases and spending cuts go into effect in the new year, McIntyre is optimistic.

"We all, of course, were disappointed that the president and the speaker did not come to terms, but I think now the realization is... we're in a situation where I think there will be serious discussions in terms of how we can come to grips with the fact that we need to make this a fair, comprehensive plan that needs bipartisan support, and we can get it done," McIntyre said.

The Congressman, though, is worried about Republican pushes to cut spending on entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare. He says those programs are money Americans have earned and should be protected and are not regular government spending. Other than that, he says all government programs must be scrutinized for savings.

In the meantime, the negotiations continue. The president wanted tax hikes on incomes higher than $250,000, but has pushed that threshold up to $400,000. McIntyre says he expects the president will go higher, but not to the $1 million income level Boehner has signaled he's willing to accept.

" It'll probably end up somewhere in between. But much more drama to be played out, but I think that you'll see some folks coming to terms finally a couple of days after Christmas, and we can get this thing done and make sure that it's done the right way with bi-partisan support."

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