Senate leader says Boehner should yield to public on tax hikes

Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:47pm EST

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid speaks to reporters in the Capitol in Washington December 13, 2012. Congressional leaders and the Obama administration are attempting to negotiate a deal to avoid the so-called ''fiscal cliff'' and work toward a deficit reduction package in the next session of Congress that begins in January. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid speaks to reporters in the Capitol in Washington December 13, 2012. Congressional leaders and the Obama administration are attempting to negotiate a deal to avoid the so-called ''fiscal cliff'' and work toward a deficit reduction package in the next session of Congress that begins in January.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON, Dec 13 - The top Republican in Congress should yield to public opinion and permit an increase in tax rates on the wealthiest Americans, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said on Thursday.

House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner "can't ignore the American people forever," Reid told a Capitol Hill news conference.

He cited polls showing that most Americans favor raising taxes on the rich while extending tax cuts for the middle class as part of a possible deal to avert "the fiscal cliff," automatic tax hikes and budget cuts set to begin in 2013.

"At some point, reality should set in," said Reid, flanked by fellow Senate Democratic leaders.

(Reporting by Thomas Ferraro; Editing by Xavier Briand)

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