On Sunday, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he would vote for a tax cut solely for the middle class if that were his only option. But as the Senate returned to work Monday, September 13, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) basically squashed any possibility for debate and said that no Republican would support a tax cut package that doesn't include the wealthy as well.
Last week President Obama proposed an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for those making under $200,000 (individuals)/$250,000 (families), while allowing the tax cuts for those in higher income brackets to expire at the end of the year, and Boehner seemed to indicate that there might be room for a compromise. But as the Senate resumed work on Monday, McConnell declared, through spokesman Don Stewart, "There are no Republicans who support a tax hike."
Complicating matters are the Democrats who currently side with Republicans, refusing to raise taxes on anyone. Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut) said in a statement on Monday, "I don't think it makes sense to raise any federal taxes during the uncertain economy we are struggling through."
However, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) may be willing to call the GOP's bluff. And there is the potential for two separate votes--one to restore the tax cuts for the lower brackets, with an additional vote later to restore cuts on higher brackets. Such a segmented vote may reassure those Democrats who are reluctant to raise taxes on anyone, offering them the opportunity to vote for cuts for the lower brackets and then again for the higher.
Some hearings scheduled for this week:
- Department of Labor, Hearings on Lifetime Income Options
- House Ways and Means Committee, China and the Yuan
- House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, "The Future of Housing Finance"
- Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Covered Bonds
- House Financial Services Committee, Dodd-Frank Reform Bill concerns