Can President, New Congress Really Compromise?

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The incoming Congress won't be sworn in until January, but newly-elected conservatives have already set their agenda.

The Republicans are taking aim at cutting spending, taxes and preventing the health care program from taking effect.

Around 65 new Republicans will fill the ranks of the incoming 112th Congress, who were helped ushered in by Tea Party supporters. Supporters who said they were on a mission to change the way business is done in Washington, D.C.

"We're coming," Senator-elect Rand Paul, R-Ky, said Sunday on ABC's "This Week." "We're proud. We're strong. We're loud. And we're going to co-opt. And, in fact, I think we're already shaping the debate."

At the top of GOP platform is tackling big government spending, including curtailing congressional earmarks.

"The voters have spoken, I think, very clearly about the need to rein in this government," Senator-elect Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said on CNN's "State of the Union." "So I'm hoping we'll have a new spirit among Republicans in Congress."

President Obama's legislative landmark health care program is also on their target list.

"The first step is, obviously, to de-fund it, and I think we can do that," Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

"This bill is such a fiscal and economic train wreck for our country and for the health care system itself," Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., said on "FOX News Sunday." "We're going to do everything we can to try and repeal and replace this thing."

With control of only the U.S. House of Representatives, Republicans acknowledge repeal of the law probably won't be possible until 2012 with the election of a Republican president.

In the meantime, they have to work with Obama on shared goals like strengthening the economy and creating jobs.

However, that's easier said than done, especially, since in one of the first debates Congress will take up during its lame duck session will be extending the Bush tax cuts.

President Obama said he's willing to compromise, but doesn't appear to be ready to move when it comes to the tax cuts for upper income earners.

"One -- middle class families need permanent tax relief," Obama said. "And two -- I believe we can't afford to borrow and spend another $700 billion on permanent tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires."

Republican leaders insist on extending those higher end tax cuts, saying there will be no compromise because higher taxes on upper-income earners would hurt small businesses.

It is one debate that illustrates just how contentious compromise is likely to be in this new era of beltway politics.

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CBN News
John Jessup

John Jessup

CBN News Anchor

John Jessup serves as the main news anchor for CBN, a position he assumed after 10 years reporting for the network in Washington, D.C. His work in broadcast news has earned him several awards in reporting, producing, and coordinating elections coverage. Follow John on Twitter @JohnCBNNews and "like" him at