WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressional Republicans don’t “really care” about extending the Bush tax cuts for the middle class, but are willing to “go to the mat to protect” tax cuts for the wealthy, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison (D) told ThinkProgress today at the Take Back The American Dream Conference.
The Bush tax cuts expire at the end of the year, and Democrats have proposed extending the cuts for the middle class while letting those for the wealthiest Americans expire. Republicans, however, have demanded a full extension of all the tax cuts. That Republicans are willing to block a tax cut for the middle class to preserve one for the rich is proof that the tax cuts for the middle class are “a lower priority” for the GOP, Ellison said:
ELLISON: I don’t think that the Republicans really care about the tax burden of the middle class. I think they care about the tax burden on really rich people because that’s who’s in the position to donate to them, donate to the PACs, to hire them after they leave Congress, that kind of stuff.
So I think their goal, I think they would rather have — I think the high income tax cuts, the oil and gas subsides, the jet subsidies, all of that stuff, I think that’s what they’re going to go to mat to protect. I think they’re embarrassed by being willing to trade off the middle class tax cuts, but it is something they have as a lower priority than the rich folks’ tax cuts. I think they’ve proven that, haven’t they? I mean, they’ve said over and over again that’s where they’re at.
Ellison has been an outspoken critic of Republican tax policy since coming to Congress. He opposed the original extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy in 2010, when he told ThinkProgress it was “patently absurd and ridiculous” that the GOP could support the tax cuts while arguing at the same time that the nation had too much debt.
Steven Perlberg contributed to this report.