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Top Republican a holdout against fiscal cliff bill: Lawmaker

Published on Jan 2, 2013 6:06 AM
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., walks to a closed-door GOP caucus meeting with Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, as Senate and House leaders rush to assemble a last-ditch agreement to head off the automatic tax hikes and spending cuts set to take effect Jan 1, in Washington, Monday, Dec 31, 2012. -- PHOTO : AP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The number two US House Republican emerged on Tuesday as a key holdout against a controversial bill that raises taxes on the wealthy but does little to rein in the federal spending side of the so-called "fiscal cliff."

Fellow Republican Tim Huelskamp said Majority Leader Eric Cantor was "opposed" to the bill that was passed overnight in the US Senate in a bid to keep tax rates as they are for middle income Americans but postpones automatic spending cuts for two months.

"He said I'm not supporting it," Mr Huelskamp, one of the House's more conservative members, said of Mr Cantor, after Republicans convened a special New Year's Day caucus conference to consider the way forward for the legislation.

"I took it as, it's a violation of our conservative principles." Several House Republicans emerged from the meeting saying they would not support the bill as it was, with congressman Spencer Bachus saying he would be "shocked" if it did not return to the Senate with a demand that more spending cuts be inserted.

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