Despite reports that the White House is open to a compromise on whether to extend current tax rates or raise taxes starting in 2011, presumed House Speaker John Boehner said Wednesday that he will continue to press for a permanent extension of all Bush-era tax cuts.
The possible compromise, which has received support from Democratic and GOP leaders, would de-couple the tax cuts set by former President Bush during his first term, making them permanent for households earning less than $250,000 per year and extend them temporarily for everyone else. But Boehner doubled down on his commitment to fight any effort that does not permanently keep all of the tax cuts in place.
“Extending all of the current tax rates and making them permanent will reduce the uncertainty in America and help small businesses create jobs again,” Boehner told reporters on Capitol Hill Wednesday. “You can’t invest when you don’t know what the rules are, when you don’t know what the tax rates are going to be next year. And that’s why making these permanent will be the most important thing we can do to help create jobs in the country.”
The 111th Congress must decide on the policy during their final session that begins Nov. 15. If President Obama does not sign a bill by midnight on Dec. 31, all taxes will increase to their pre-2001 levels.
It is not a scenario either party wants to face. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has suggested he is open to such a compromise that would extend some of the tax cuts temporarily, and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has made clear that Obama will not sign a bill if all of the cuts are permanent.
Republican and Democratic leaders will meet with Obama in the White House on Nov. 18 to discuss Congress’ final session and ways to work together with a GOP majority in the House. Boehner said he anticipates having a “nice conversation” with Obama and hopes the discussions will result in a deal to “make all of the current tax rates permanent” and “reduce spending to pre-bailout, pre-stimulus levels.”
Boehner said last week that he expects a “whale of a fight over taxes and spending” between Republicans and Democrats during the lame-duck session.