President Obama and congressional Democrats want to extend tax rates for middle-income earners but Republicans have argued that the entire package of tax rates enacted during President George W. Bush's presidency should remain in place until Congress can reach agreement on a total tax code overhaul. The rates are due to expire at the end of the year.
Observers say an effort to extend the Bush tax rates without offsetting spending cuts or revenue increases could open the GOP to attacks on the deficit, The Hill reported Tuesday.
In interviews with The Hill, several House Republicans said they do not think the extensions need to be offset, a position in keeping with the party's belief that tax cuts don't need to be paid for because of tax receipts generated through economic growth.
"From my perspective, you're setting tax policy on a permanent basis, long-term basis," said Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., a freshman and a member of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. "It's not a pay-for situation. It's just strong policy that needs to be adopted."
Republicans run into a political thicket because of the congressional score-keepers system that projects an extension of the 2001 and 2003 cuts and other income tax provisions in a 2010 tax deal would cost about $2.4 trillion over 10 years. Republicans lawmakers have complained about that system and want the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation to score tax proposals in a manner that more fully considers economic growth.