Tom Cole: Freeze middle class tax rates, but White House ‘fiscal cliff’ pitch not ‘a real proposal’

December 2, 2012

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) on Sunday repeated his call  for Republicans to work with Democrats to freeze tax rates for 98 percent of Americans, even as he dismissed the White House's overall plan to avert the "fiscal cliff."


Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) (Sarah Phipps/AP)

Cole said that House Republicans should agree to freeze tax rates on middle class Americans as Democrats have advocated, arguing such a move would strengthen the GOP's overall position in the "fiscal cliff" talks. He's said a fight over the tax rate for top earners can come afterward. 

"I actually do believe we should take things where we agree with the president -- and we do agree on this -- and take them off the table one at a time. And this would actually, I think, strength our position," Cole said on ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos." 

That said, the White House "must think John Boehner (R-Ohio) is Santa Claus, because that's a Christmas wish list, not a real proposal," Cole noted of the larger plan to avert the fiscal cliff the White House presented congressional Republicans with last week. 

Boehner, who wants to extend the Bush administration tax cuts for all earners, said last week that he disagrees with Cole

“I disagreed with him. … This is not the right approach,” Boehner said. 

The White House has called on the House to pass a measure that has already cleared the Senate which would ensure tax rates do not go up for 98 percent of Americans.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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Sean Sullivan | December 2, 2012