Tags: US | Tax | Cuts

Geithner Welcomes Apparent GOP Support for Middle-Class Tax Cuts

Monday, 13 Sep 2010 11:14 AM

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Monday the administration is encouraged to hear Republicans say they would support President Barack Obama's plan to extend tax cuts to the middle class.

Geithner said in a speech that the administration would welcome the GOP votes.

The Obama administration has proposed extending the 2001 and 2003 Bush-era tax cuts for the middle class. But it would let the tax cuts for the top 2 percent of taxpayers expire at the end of this year.

House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Sunday that he would vote for Obama's tax plan if that were the only option available to House Republicans.

Geithner took note of those comments in a speech Monday to a conference sponsored by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

"We welcome recent indications that Republicans won't hold middle-class tax cuts hostage," Geithner said.

Geithner called on Congress to move quickly to extend the tax cuts. That debate is expected to be a key focus this month before Congress adjourns to campaign for the Nov. 2 elections. Republicans have made high unemployment and the Democrats' handling of the economy a major campaign theme.

Geithner and the administration have tried to make the case that conditions would have been worse without Obama's economic policies, including the $814 billion stimulus package. Geithner said that a return to Republican policies would put the economic recovery in jeopardy.

"We can't afford to go back to the policies of the past decade when we passed large tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans without paying for them and saw little impact on job creation and years of stagnation in middle class wages," he said.

Republicans say the level of spending undertaken by the Obama administration has done little to boost the economy. Instead, it has increased the deficit to unsustainable levels, they say.

Earlier, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs says the Obama administration hopes the top House Republican is serious about supporting renewed tax cuts for the middle class, but says GOP hopes to also trim taxes for the rich lack common sense.

Democrats are worried that November elections could hand the GOP control of the House and perhaps the Senate. The White House and its Democratic allies hope to use the tax-cut fight to cast themselves as defenders of the middle class and Republicans as a party eager to revive the days of the still unpopular former President George W. Bush.

"We're going to take the next 50-some days to convince the public that's exactly what the Republicans would do — back to the Bush policies," Gibbs said.

He said the middle class should not be used as a political football by Republicans maneuvering to give tax cuts to wealthy taxpayers, who he said don't need the reductions. Republicans say paring taxes for the wealthy would encourage them and the businesses they operate to create jobs.

Congressional analysts say renewing the tax cuts for everyone would cost the government $4 trillion over the next decade. With polls showing a broad public anger over spiraling federal deficits, Obama wants to exclude individuals earning over $200,000 and couples making over $250,000 — who account for $700 billion of that total.

Gibbs said borrowing $700 billion to give tax cuts to millionaires "doesn't make any economic sense, and it certainly lacks common sense."

Gibbs spoke Monday on CBS' "Early Show," ABC's "Good Morning America" and NBC's "Today" show.

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Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Monday the administration is encouraged to hear Republicans say they would support President Barack Obama's plan to extend tax cuts to the middle class. Geithner said in a speech that the administration would welcome the GOP votes....
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2010-14-13
Monday, 13 Sep 2010 11:14 AM
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