Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Did John Boehner Blink on Tax Cuts for the Rich?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Did John Boehner Blink on Tax Cuts for the Rich?

Article excerpt

House Republican leader John Boehner said he'd vote to extend tax cuts for middle-class Americans even if the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy were allowed to expire. Did he mean it, or was it a calculated move to get President Obama off his back?

Did John Boehner just blink on tax cuts for the rich? Or was it a calculated move to get President Obama off his back?

On CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday, House Republican leader Boehner said that if he had to, he'd vote to extend tax cuts for middle- class Americans (those making no more than $250,000 a year) even if the Bush tax cuts for the richest three percent were allowed to expire.

"If the only option I have is to vote for those at $250,000 and below, of course I'm going to do that," Boehner told "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer.

On the surface, that can't have been easy for the Republican to admit, even though the Congressional Budget Office estimates that extending tax cuts for the wealthy would cost the federal treasury $700 billion over the next ten years.

"I've been making the point now for months that we need to extend all the current rates for all Americans if we want to get our economy going again, and we want to get jobs in America," he told Schieffer. "I'm going to do everything I can to fight to make sure that we extend the current tax rates for all Americans."

Still, Boehner's willingness to accept less than that is noteworthy - especially when some Democrats, including former White House budget director Peter Orszag, have said they might compromise by going along with extending the Bush tax cuts for all income levels. (At least for a while.)

"At least a dozen House Democrats, several Democratic candidates and four Democratic senators - Evan Bayh of Indiana, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Kent Conrad of North Dakota - have said they won't go along with the president's plan to allow the cuts to expire for the wealthiest Americans," reports Patricia Murphy at Politics Daily. …

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