The top Republican in the House of Representatives called Thursday for a full extension of tax cuts enacted during the Bush administration, rejecting any compromise with President Barack Obama.
House Minority Leader John Boehner dismissed the latest call by Obama to extend tax cuts for all but the wealthiest Americans.
“Republicans in the House and Senate are united that this is not the time to increase taxes on anyone in America,” Boehner said.
The latest comments suggested a hardening of the Republican position since Sunday, when Boehner seemed to hint at a compromise and said he might vote for renewing a tax cut program which did not include top earners if that were all he could get.
Fomenting the row are tax cuts passed by former president George W. Bush in 2001 and 2003, when no one was predicting the current economic crunch.
The cuts were programed to expire this year — unless Congress votes to renew them.
Obama proposes extending the tax cuts for two years, but not for households earning over 250,000 dollars a year, arguing that America cannot afford handouts to top earners.
Boehner called Thursday for “an honest up or down vote on stopping all the coming tax hikes,” and said that if that happens, “I’m confident that the American people will not see an increase in their taxes.”
The comments came a day after Obama told Republicans to stop “playing games” and back an extension to middle class tax cuts.
Obama accused Republicans of blocking the move just to ensure the richest Americans also get a handout he said the country could not afford. Officials say extending the cuts to the top earners would cost 700 billion dollars over 10 years.