A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., said Senate Republicans are uniformly opposed to letting the Bush tax cuts expire for even the wealthiest taxpayers.
McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said Monday that all 41 Senate Republicans have pledged to oppose President Obamas plan to let the tax rates rise for households making over $250,000 per year, according to the Associated Press. McConnell later said on the Senate floor that he was introducing legislation that ensures that no one in this country will pay higher income taxes next year than they are right now.
McConnell's legislation would permanently extend the Bush tax cuts, restrict the estate tax to estates worth $5 million or more for individuals, or $10 million for couples, and limit the spread of the alternative minimum tax. Other provisions would prevent the return of the marriage penalty and maintain the dohbljng of the child tax credit.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., criticized Republican efforts to block the tax cuts for those making less than $250,000. It is unconscionable for Senate Republicans to hold middle-class tax cuts hostage in order to secure more tax giveaways for millionaires and CEOs who ship American jobs overseas, said Reid. Todays declaration by Senate Republicans means they are willing to raise taxes on the middle class and small businesses in the middle of a recession. Regardless of what any individual Senator may think about tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, I had hoped we could all agree that middle-class families deserve to have their taxes cut. But by this Republican logic, until rich CEOs get what they want, middle-class families can't get what they need.
However, McConnell pointed out that some Democrats and independent Joe Lieberman of Connecticut agree with extending the Bush tax cuts even for high-income tax brackets. The good news is that a growing chorus of Democrats, including at least five here in the Senate, are coming round on this issue, he said Monday. They oppose the tax hikes the administration is proposing. As Senator Lieberman put it earlier today, `I don't think it makes sense to raise any federal taxes during the uncertain economy we are struggling through. The more money we leave in private hands, the quicker our economic recovery will be.' I couldnt agree more. Only in Washington could someone propose a tax hike as an antidote to a recession.
On Sunday, House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, told CBSs Face the Nation that he would settle for voting for tax cuts for those making less than $250,000 if necessary. If the only option I have is to vote for those at $250,000 and below, of course Im going to do that, he told Bob Schieffer. But Im going to do everything I can to fight to make sure that we extend the current tax rates for all Americans.
The White House seized on Boehners comments and spokesman Robert Gibbs said, We welcome John Boehners change in position and support for the middle-class tax cuts. Boehner subsequently backtracked and emphasized he supported Republican efforts to keep the tax rates at the current level.
Three House Republicans sent a letter to House Democratic committee chairmen on Monday backing a plan to cut non-discretionary spending back to 2008 levels and freeze taxes at the current rates.
To this end, Republicans have proposed that we come together in a bipartisan way to enact legislation this month that cuts non-security discretionary spending back to 2008 levels for the next year, and provides certainty for small businesses by freezing all tax rates at their current levels for the next two years, said the letter from Congressmen Dave Camp, R-Mich., Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., and Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
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