A Republican Congressman is urging the GOP to support legislation extending President Bush’s tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans that will expire if Congress does not act before the end of the year, Politico reports. Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) told colleagues on Tuesday that by agreeing to President Obama’s approach and providing tax relief for the majority of Americans, the party could honor Grover Norquist’s no-tax pledge and still push for extending the tax breaks for the richest 2 percent of income earners:
At a meeting of the House GOP whip team earlier in the day, he made the case that Republicans would strengthen their position by joining hands with President Barack Obama now to give most taxpayers what he calls “an early Christmas present” of ensuring their taxes don’t go up on Jan. 1.
Cole’s position is striking because he’s hardly a “squish” — Norquist’s term for a weak-kneed lawmaker — when it comes to Republican orthodoxy. Cole served as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee and in other official posts within the party. [...]
“I think we ought to take the 98 percent deal right now,” he said of freezing income tax rates for all but the top 2 percent of earners. “It doesn’t mean I agree with raising the top 2. I don’t. Instead, he told POLITICO, Republicans should fight the president over tax rates for the top earners after everyone else is taken care of.
The Senate passed legislation maintaining Bush’s tax cuts for all but the top 2 percent of income earners in July and Obama has urged the GOP-controlled House to support the bill.
Boehner rejected Cole’s proposal during a press conference on Wednesday: