Republicans Wednesday seized on comments from former President Bill Clinton expressing support for the extension of (George W.) Bush era tax cuts for everyone.
The cuts are scheduled to be eliminated Jan. 1 without action from Congress. Republicans want to extend the tax reductions for everyone, while Democrats, including President Barack Obama, want to end them for the wealthy.
Clinton said on CNBC Tuesday that continuing the tax cuts across the board was “probably the best thing to do right now.” He later pulled back from that statement, but Republican leaders pointed to the original remarks as an indication of bipartisan support for their position.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner made a rare joint appearance in the House to point out that Clinton had diverged from Obama on the tax cut issue, Politico
“Even Bill Clinton came out for it, before he was against it,” Boehner said. “And then Larry Summers, the president’s former economic adviser, [came out] this morning in favor of this.”
Summers, appearing on MSNBC Wednesday, made comments that seemed to indicate support for the Republican stance. But in a later e-mail to The New York Times, he backed Obama on the tax issue. “I fully support President Obama’s position on tax cuts,” Summers said.
Nonetheless, Republicans already have been handed their opportunity. “It’s not often in Washington that you get a bipartisan decision,” said House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy. “When you listen to former President Clinton, if you listen to Summers, if you listen to our speaker, if you listen to our leader, they are saying the same thing as the small businesses across America.”
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