One of the key votes that will take place during the lame duck congressional session that began yesterday is what to do with the Bush tax cuts. President Obama and congressional Democrats want to extend the cuts for just middle class families, noting that extending the cuts for the richest two percent of Americans will add $830 billion to deficit over the next ten years. Republicans demand an extension of all the cuts, but have so far failed to put forward any convincing (or truthful) arguments explaining why giving the wealthiest Americans another tax break is the best use of almost a trillion dollars while the nation faces painful cuts to valuable government programs.
But as soon as the potential deal was floated by White House allies, a leading Republicans shot it down. Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), who plays a key role in GOP tax policy as the ranking member on the House Ways and Means Committee, which handles taxes, “said the GOP will block any proposal that extends tax cuts for the middle class for a longer period than those for the wealthy.” If Democrats insist on a longer period for the middle class cuts, “I think this issue will end up getting kicked into next year,” Camp said:
In a speech to the Tax Council, a business group, Mr. Camp called that plan “a terrible idea and a total nonstarter. We would be foolish to fall for it,” he said.
Appearing on Fox News host Sean Hannity’s radio show today, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) struck a similar tone, saying, “There’s only one thing that’s acceptable and that’s to not raise taxes on anyone.” “We’re not going to go along with…splitting it into two different sets of Americans”:
As New York Times columnist Frank Rich pointed out Sunday, “It’s the very top earners, not your garden variety, entrepreneurial multimillionaires, who will be by far the biggest beneficiaries” of an extension on the cuts for rich. Thankfully, congressional Republicans have signaled they will not rest until those “very top earners” get their cut — even it means going home without a vote and letting the tax bill go up for middle class families come January 1.