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Boehner Holds Strong on Tax Standoff

John Boehner made it known that he is not going to bend when it comes to raising taxes for the rich after Representative Tom Cole said that the Republican party should take the offer from President Barack Obama to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans. Cole said that despite not wanting the top federal income tax rate to rise back to the Clinton level of 39.6 percent, the party still should accept the deal right now.

Cole said that if the House had to vote on his proposal it would pass the vote and that many of his colleagues in the GOP agree with his stance. “I’m not the chief whip. I’m just a deputy whip.”

Boehner said the following: “I told Tom earlier in our conference meeting that I disagreed with him. He’s a wonderful friend of mine and a great supporter of mine, but raising taxes on the so-called top 2 percent — half of those taxpayers are small-business owners that pay their taxes through their personal income tax filing every year. The goal here is to grow the economy and control spending. You’re not going to grow the economy if you raise tax rates on the top two [percent]. It’ll hurt small businesses; it’ll hurt our economy.”

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Wealthy Americans pay a top income tax rate of 35 percent right now, with many of them not hitting that mark because of deductions and lower capital gains tax rates. If the top rate increases, the taxes would raise some $800 billion over the next 10 years.

The proposal from Cole to accept the plan from the Democrats was rejected by Senator Jim DeMint, a Republican from South Carolina. The plan is to extend the tax cuts for 98 percent of the country and let the top money makers in the country see their tax rates increase. The idea was described as ‘bad politics’ and ‘capitulation’ by DeMint.

“I think we need to extend the current rates until we can reform the [tax] code,” he told reporters on Capitol Hill Wednesday. “I don’t think any decoupling of the rates is a concession we should make. I think that’s capitulation — it doesn’t help the country. For Republicans to agree to that is bad policy, and I think it’s bad politics.”

Senator-elect Jeff Flake, a Republican from Arizona, also said that he is opposed to the acceptance of Obama’s plan and said that Cole’s comments were just ‘a lot of talk.’

“This notion that everything we said during the campaign about a balanced approach — that ‘balanced’ means just doing the top 2 [percent] rates and nothing else. That’s not balance,” Flake told The Huffington Post. “That’s what’s sticking out like a sore thumb today.”

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