The Majority Leader: Rep. Eric Cantor

Lesley Stahl profiles President Obama's newest nemesis, Rep. Eric Cantor, and asks him about congressional gridlock and voter frustration

CBS All Access
This video is available on CBS All Access

[Adams: Hi everybody.]

Driving much of the gridlock is the large Republican freshmen class in the House.

[Adams: A two-month extension for the payroll tax bill and to unemployment is a non-starter.]

Eric Cantor was the one who went out in 2010 and recruited most of the freshmen who are conservative and backed by the Tea Party.

[Cantor: Continue to stay focused on economic growth and job creation...]

He meets with them regularly, and several of them told us Cantor is their inspirational leader and father figure. But Eric Cantor does not want to be seen as unreasonable. To prove that he has been accommodating, Cantor told us that during his budget talks last spring with Vice President Biden, he endorsed over $200 billion in revenue increases.

Stahl: So you were in favor of reducing some of the loopholes?

Cantor: Absolutely, I said that in the very beginning.

Stahl: Like what?

He says he was willing to get rid of tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, corporate jets and increase the special 15 percent tax rate on partners in private equity firms and some hedge funds.

Cantor: We have a tax code that is littered with preferences. Because people who figure it out come to Washington with their influence and go and get provisions in the tax code that favor their industries.

But then he imposed a condition the Democrats would not accept. He wanted every dollar of new revenue offset by equal cuts in tax rates. That is the crux of the stalemate hovering over Congress on almost every single fiscal issue.

Cantor: Let's just make sure we're revenue neutral at the end, okay?

Stahl: So there'd be no benefit from revenues toward the deficit?

Cantor: Well if you want to raise taxes somewhere we want a corresponding offset for the broader goal of lowering rates for everyone.

With both sides dug in, five attempts to get a deficit reduction deal failed. Cantor then proposed that the two sides put off their major disagreements and just vote on what had been agreed to in previous negotiations which was roughly $10 in spending cuts for every one dollar raised thru revenues. That set off a testy exchange between Cantor and the president at a White House meeting.

Stahl: Didn't the president say repeatedly in the meeting that he wasn't going to agree to it without more revenues?

Cantor: Who's not compromising there? Who's not compromising there?

Stahl: Well, they would say you because you just wanted spending cuts. And I'm just trying to figure out where's the compromise coming from? Where's the compromise?

Cantor: There's plenty of compromise. We all know that there are ways to reduce spending in Washington, okay. Everybody--

Stahl: Okay, but what about revenues? A compromise. You wanted the spending cuts, they wanted revenues.