Already privy to President Barack Obama’s plans to announce a tax increase as part of his long term deficit-reduction proposal, Republican leaders in both chambers said this week they would block any attempts by the White House to raise taxes.
“[I]f the President begins the discussion by saying we must increase taxes on the American people – as his budget does – my response will be clear: tax increases are unacceptable and are a nonstarter,” House Speaker John Boehner, Ohio Republican, said in a statement.
Boehner’s office released the statement just two hours after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced in similar terms that the Senate Republicans would keep any proposal that includes tax increases from becoming law.
“There’s no way to tax our way out of this problem,” McConnell said. “From my point of view, taxes are not on the table because we don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem”
Just weeks after Republicans unveiled their own budget for fiscal year 2012, White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe announced that the president would outline a new plan to trim the deficit that includes reforms to entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid, tax increases for families earning more than $250,000 annually and other cuts to discretionary spending. Obama plans to outline his plan in a speech Wednesday afternoon at George Washington University.
The president already unveiled a $3.8 trillion budget in February, a document that saw no movement in Congress.
The last time Obama called for tax increases — even just for the wealthy — it didn’t end well for Democrats. After months of debate between the parties last year, Boehner and McConnell drove the White House to strike a bargain extending tax rates for families earning more than $250,000 annually for two years. Emboldened by the previous victory and armed with a Republican-led House, there is little reason to believe they won’t put up the same fight this time around.