Why The GOP Is Holding Middle Class Tax Cuts Hostage
Earlier this week, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) sought to overcome the GOP’s resistance to voting on a Senate-passed measure that would extend Bush-era tax cuts to middle class Americans by introducing a discharge petition that, if signed by 218 members, could force the House to take-up the measure. Some Republicans, weary of the overwhelming public support for raising rates on the richest two percent of Americans, have urged the GOP leadership to allow the vote, but have yet to formally sign Pelosi’s discharge. Republican leadership continues to insist on extending tax cuts for all Americans, while President Obama said he would only sign legislation that would maintain reductions for individuals who earn $200,000 or less and couples who make $250,000 or less.
But in a recent photo-op with constituents, Rep. John Duncan (R-TN) explained why Republicans are refusing to give in. The Tennessee Republican admitted that he won’t vote to extend tax cuts to 98 percent of Americans because doing so would cede control to Democrats:
CONSTITUENT 1: Are you going to sign the discharge petition?
DUNCAN: Ummm…Oh no, I’m not. No Ma’am. I’m not about to sign the discharge petition.
CONSTITUENT 2: Well if you sign the discharge petition, you’ll immediately etend the tax cuts for the middle class.
CONSTITUENT 1: Yea, why would you not want to do that? [...]
DUNCAN: It would take too long to explain that. I’m not going to give control of the floor to the Democrats.
If Congress does not act before the end of the year, taxes will increase for all Americans. Polls show that “nearly half” of Americans believe tax cuts “for people earning more than $250,000 should expire while they should continue for those earning less, while 32 percent said the tax cuts should continue for everyone.”