House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), talking to reporters two weeks ago:

“We are not opposed to revenues.”

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), talking to reporters this morning:

“We’re not for increasing revenue.”

Putting aside the fact that oft-confused Majority Leader doesn’t seem to know what he’s talking about, what this shift also tells us is that House Republicans appear to be moving backwards. Whereas the GOP was open to accepting some additional revenue as part of a debt-reduction deal, Cantor is now say Republicans expect a 100-0 agreement in their favor.

As for Democrats seeking the elimination of unnecessary (and unpopular) government handouts — oil industry subsidies, an acceleration of the depreciation on private jets, etc. — Cantor said the tax breaks are “talking points” and “not substantive.”

I’m not sure what that means. Democrats want to scrap these giveaways in order to save a few billion dollars, all of which would be used to reduce the deficit — the goal Republicans pretend to care about. What makes this “not substantive”?

Echoing Paul Ryan’s comments from yesterday, Cantor added, “Any discussion about loopholes must be offset by tax cuts.”

Got that? Policymakers can end unnecessary tax subsidies, but if they do, the money has to go to more tax cuts, not towards reducing the debt Republicans pretend to find important.

I’ve run out of synonyms for “ridiculous.” Instead, I’ll just quote David Brooks, who explained yesterday that Cantor’s Republican Party “has separated itself from normal governance” and may no longer be “fit to govern.”

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.