Democratic Senator says he would vote to extend Bush tax cuts for wealthy under certain circumstances

Michigan Democratic Sen. Carl Levin said that under certain circumstances, he would support a bill that extends the Bush-era tax cuts for Americans making more than $250,000, a possibility that members of the Party’s leadership have largely ruled out.

“If it ends up in some tax bill that there’s a lot of other provisions in it I might have no alternative,” Levin told reporters on Capitol Hill Monday. “But in terms of a straight up down vote for it, I’d vote against it.”

Levin made it clear that he opposes extending the tax cuts for the wealthy on principle.

All of the tax cuts, which former President George W. Bush put into place in 2001 and 2003, are set to expire at the end of this year unless Congress votes to extend them. Democratic leaders have said they support only extending tax cuts for households that earn up to $250,000 per year. Four Senate Democrats and one independent have indicated that they support extending the tax cuts for Americans that earn more, and three other Senators have suggested that they are open to the possibility in a compromise proposal.

While it is doubtful that the Democratic leadership sees Levin as a risk, the debate over the tax cuts has become so hot on Capitol Hill that any suggestion that a member is open to supporting a plan that strays from the Party line can cause a firestorm. Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner was blasted last week after he announced on CBS “Face the Nation” that he would vote for only extending the tax cuts to the middle class if it were the only option.

House and Senate Democratic leadership have not made it clear when they will call for a vote on the issue, although there has been talk that they will try to put it to a vote before the November midterm elections.

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