House GOP Meet to Discuss Tax Increases
Last night, reports surfaced that Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) would meet with the House Republican Conference to prepare them for a forthcoming deal on the fiscal cliff. CQ Roll Call reported (sub. req’d) “rank-and-file members have been kept largely in the dark by Boehner and his team.” The deal rumored last night included a mix of tax hikes, promises of entitlement reform and a debt limit increase. The details were vague and the deal wasn’t sealed, but a deal seemed to be coming together.
Heritage’s Alison Acosta Fraser lamented that Republican leaders were “too eager” to strike a deal:
The latest fiscal cliff proposal by Speaker of the House John Boehner (R–OH) is infuriatingly frustrating to conservatives, again. In exchange for $1 trillion in tax hikes—including the President’s immediate tax rate hike on the wealthy—Boehner asked for just $1 trillion in spending cuts. And, to sweeten the pot for the President, Boehner’s proposal reportedly includes increasing the debt limit for another year.
The deal, as outlined, she concluded, was “a stinker.”
In an effort to avoid a full blown revolt among the rank-and-file, Speaker Boehner told the White House last night he was moving on to Plan B. Politico elaborates:
House Republicans, discouraged by the pace of negotiations with the White House, will move their own bill that would hike tax rates on income above $1 million, according to several sources familiar with the plans.
Boehner isn’t pulling out of negotiations with the White House to strike a sweeping $2 trillion agreement, but leadership sources say they hope this move prods the administration to move toward them.
As of Monday evening, both sides seemed close to an agreement. Boehner has moved off his insistence that tax rates not rise on the wealthy, and has offered the president $1 trillion in fresh revenue — unthinkable concessions a year ago.
The idea of a so-called “millionaires’ tax” isn’t new. The last time Congress grappled with the expiration of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, Senate Chuck Schumer (D-NY) floated this very plan. On December 2, 2010, the New York Times wrote:
Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, began to float the idea of the millionaires’ tax cut a few weeks ago. He is pressing it on what he sees as the substantive merits, but sees it as well as an example of how the way a policy is framed can determine its political viability.
Republicans were not elected and reelected to advance Chuck Schumer’s political strategy. As Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) pointed out in the same article, “I don’t care who they take it from. It’s still money out of the private sector.” House Republicans should remember those words today.