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Maffei ready to deal with fiscal cliff if need be

Ellen Abbott

He won't be sworn in until January, but congressman-elect Dan Maffei is carefully watching the fiscal cliff negotiations in Washington.

The Syracuse area Democrat, elected to represent the newly drawn 24th Congressional District, says he is worried that Congress and the president won't be able to come to an agreement on tax hikes and spending cuts before the end of the year, to avoid a January 1 fiscal cliff. 

He does believes the president and House Speaker John Boehner are trying to work out a deal.

"Clearly, at least in the case of the speaker, a lot of the people in his current caucus won't let him compromise at all, so I'm concerned that there won't be an agreement until next year," Maffei said in an interview with WRVO.

Maffei says he's ready to jump in if need be. "I'm ready to work on it as soon as we start," he says.

Maffei believes this new congress taking office has more of a mind for compromise, and would be able to hammer out a deal.

Maffei has said in the past he would support tax hikes for people earning more than a million dollars. That's higher than the White House proposal of tax hikes for those making more than $250,000. But he says he would be willing to compromise.

He also believes there are places to cut entitlement programs like Medicare and social security without affecting benefits. 

"I would like to see a real deal, but if not, at the very least they should allow this new Congress, that I do think was elected with more of a mind for compromise to come in and come up with something."

Maffei and the rest of the 113th Congress will be sworn in January 3.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.