Boehner Willing To Let Bush Tax Cuts Expire For Wealthiest Americans
A signal today from the House Republican Leader that compromise may be possible on the issue of the extension of the 2003 “Bush Tax Cuts” past their expiration date on December 31st:
WASHINGTON — The House Republican leader, Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, said on Sunday that he was prepared to vote in favor of legislation that would let the Bush-era tax cuts expire for the wealthiest Americans if Democrats insisted on continuing the lower rates only for families earning less than $250,000 a year.
Speaking on “Face the Nation” on CBS, Mr. Boehner made clear that he supports continuing the lower tax rates at all income levels and that he believes the Democrats would be making a mistake by increasing taxes on anyone, given the weak economy.
But Mr. Boehner said that absent any other option, he would vote in favor of legislation proposed by President Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders who say they want to continue the lower rates only for Americans they regard as middle class.
“If the only option I have is to vote for some of those tax reductions, I’ll vote for them,” Mr. Boehner said, in response to questioning by the television show’s host, Bob Schieffer, who pointedly asked if Republicans were willing to hold the tax breaks for most Americans “hostage” to insist on continuing the lower rates for the highest earners.
Mr. Boehner’s position, which he had not previously articulated, represents a major strategic move by Republicans, who are increasingly optimistic about their chances of taking control of the House in November. His decision also raises pressure on Democrats, who are increasingly divided among themselves over what to do about the Bush tax cuts, which are due to expire at the end of this year.
Boehner’s position is also consistent with that held by a majority of Americans according to a new Gallup poll:
PRINCETON, NJ — A majority of Americans favor letting the tax cuts enacted during the Bush administration expire for the wealthy. While 37% support keeping the tax cuts for all Americans, 44% want them extended only for those making less than $250,000 and 15% think they should expire for all taxpayers.
Now, the ball is in the hands of the Democratic leaders in the House and the Senate. It would seem to be fairly easy for them to pull together a bill extending the tax cuts for Americans earning less than $ 250,000. Its hard to believe that any politician in a tight race, Republican or Democrat, is going to want to go on record as being against tax cuts immediately prior to an election. If they don’t do it, then they face the risk of losing control of one or both Houses of Congress and thus giving the GOP an excellent opportunity to extend the tax cuts across the board.
So, what are you going to do Democrats ?