House Republican leader open to Obama tax cut proposal

September 13th, 2010 - 6:37 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Sept.13 (ANI): House Republican leader, John A. Boehner has said that he would vote to maintain lower rates for families earning less than 250,000 dollars, even if President Obama and Democrats insisted on ending cuts for wealthier Americans.

Boehner’s decision is likely to reframe both the final intense weeks on Capitol Hill before the elections and the fall campaign, in which embattled Democrats have planned to paint Republicans as obstructionists favoring the rich over the middle class.

“If the only option I have is to vote for some of those tax reductions, I’ll vote for them,” the New York Times quoted Boehner, as saying on “Face the Nation” on CBS.

The Bush-era tax cuts are due to expire on December 31, 2010, and have become a major issue in a mid-term campaign dominated by voter anger over the weak economy and concerns about the nation’s rising debt.

Policymakers face a difficult choice: to continue the tax cuts in a bid to appease constituents and perhaps spur economic growth, or let the rates expire as a way to raise revenue and help reduce the deficit.

Obama insists the nation can no longer afford tax breaks for the wealthy, while Republicans say any tax increase is a grave mistake.

If Democrats prevail, it would be a major policy victory, allowing Obama to boast that he had fulfilled yet another signature campaign promise.

The White House has portrayed Boehner as caving into pressure, including direct criticism by the president in a speech in the Republican leader’s home state, Ohio, last week.

But the victory could come at a political cost.

Boehner’s move could deprive the Democrats of the argument that Republicans would hurt the middle class to help the rich.

He has also positioned his party to share credit for continuing the lower rates for most Americans, and still blame Democrats for raising taxes in a weak economy.

However, many Senate Republicans have said that letting the Bush cuts expire for high earners amounts to raising taxes on small-business owners, some of whom fall into those rates because they report their business earnings as personal income.

Both White House officials and Congressional Democratic leaders expressed doubt that Boehner would follow through and said they would continue to press him on the issue. (ANI)

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