By Perry Bacon Jr.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010; 11:58 AM
House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) on Wednesday backtracked from remarks he made Sunday suggesting he would support extending the Bush tax cuts only for households with incomes below $250,000 a year, as President Obama has proposed.
At a news conference on Capitol Hill, Boehner repeatedly emphasized that he would support only legislation that kept in place all of the tax cuts. He sidestepped questions about how he and Republicans would vote if Democrats insisted on pushing through a measure that ends the tax cut on household incomes of more than $250,000 a year. Tax cuts for all incomes that passed in 2001 and 2003 under President George W. Bush are due to expire at the end of this year.
"I want to extend all of the current tax cuts," Boehner said. "I want the speaker [Nancy Pelosi] to allow a fair and open debate on our two-point plan."
He was referring to a House Republican proposal to keep in all place all of the tax cuts for two years and reduce federal government spending back to 2008 levels.
His comments came three days after his initial remarks in an interview on CBS's "Face the Nation" in which he said, "If the only option I have is to vote for those at [$250,000] and below, of course I'm going to do that." No other Republican leader had joined him in taking that stance publicly.
Instead nearly every member of the congressional GOP and even some conservative Democrats have suggested that tax cuts for incomes of more than $250,000 should stay in place, arguing it would hurt economic growth to raise taxes during a slow recovery from a recession.
Congressional Democratic leaders and Obama say few individuals or small businesses would be affected by a tax increase on income of more than $250,000. And they say keeping the tax cut in place would result in a higher budget deficit.