Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., urged his fellow Republican House members Tuesday to support, for now, President Barack Obama’s plan to leave taxes unchanged for all but the wealthy.
Then the GOP can fight in earnest next year for their right to keep their taxes at current rates too, Cole told Politico
. Taxes will go up on everyone starting Jan. 1 if Congress and the president can’t agree on changes.
Republicans will deal from a position of greater strength next year if they stand with the president to offer most taxpayers “an early Christmas present” of extending their 2001-03 tax cuts, Cole said.
His stance carries weight given his solid conservative credentials and his service in party leadership posts such as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Cole says he doesn’t believe the top 2 percent of tax payers should see their rates go up, just like everyone else. But Republicans would do much better on the issue next year if they don’t allow Obama to argue that this year they held up tax cuts for all but the wealthy.
“Some people think that [holding up a deal now] is our leverage in the debate. It’s the Democrats’ leverage in the debate,” Cole said.
He said his stance doesn’t violate Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge, because it favors extending tax cuts for most Americans and leaving policy unchanged for the wealthy.
Meanwhile, Republicans are seeking to gain momentum for cutbacks in entitlements by reminding Obama that he was willing to consider the idea when attempting to negotiate a budget agreement with Speaker of the House John Boehner in July 2011, GOP aides tell NBC News.
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