Republicans and Democrats both agree that the middle-income portion of the Bush tax cuts should be extended before they expire at the end of the year, a move that would maintain current tax rates on all income under $250,000 and avoid painful tax hikes on middle-class families at the start of 2013. The Senate has already passed legislation to extend those tax cuts, but House Republicans have refused to do the same until Democrats agree to maintain the tax cuts on high-incomes.
With expiration of the tax cuts just 26 days away and Democrats promising not to extend the Bush tax cuts on high-incomes, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and “a handful of other Republicans” want the House GOP to pass the middle-income tax cuts right now, the New York Times reports:
Senator Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, who is retiring, joined a handful of other Republicans on Tuesday suggesting that Congress should pass the middle-class tax cut extensions now, then leave the fight over taxes and spending until later. Americans, she said, “should not even be questioning that we will ultimately raise taxes on low- to middle-income people.” Congress could take that off the table “while you’re grappling with tax cuts for the wealthy,” she said.
Snowe joined Reps. Tom Cole (R-OK) and Walter Jones (R-NC) among Republicans who have suggested that the GOP should immediately pass the middle-income extension. Democrats filed a petition yesterday to force a House vote on the middle-income tax cuts, but it has so far garnered no Republican signatures.
While Republican leaders have said they want to extend the entirety of the Bush tax cuts to avoid tax hikes on any Americans, legislation proposed by both House and Senate Republicans this fall allows the expiration of three important tax credits that would result in tax increases on 10 times as many Americans — most of them lower- and middle-class — than the Democratic proposal.