In another ominous sign of new political gridlock developing in Washington, House Republican leaders Sunday took a hard line on compromising with President Obama on extending tax cuts that are due to expire at the end of the year.
“I really want to see that we can come together and agree upon the notion that Washington doesn’t need more revenues right now,” Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the No. 2 House Republican, said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“And to sit here and say we’re just going to go about halfway, or we’re going to send a signal that it’s going to be uncertain for job creators and investors to put capital to work, that’s exactly what we don’t need right now.”
Obama has proposed permanently extending tax cuts for American households making less than $250,000 a year, but he has argued that the country cannot afford to extend those cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
The president repeated that proposal in his weekly address this weekend.
“At a time when we are going to ask folks across the board to make such difficult sacrifices, I don’t see how we can afford to borrow an additional $700 billion from other countries to make all the Bush tax cuts permanent, even for the wealthiest 2% of Americans,” he said.
Republicans say extending the tax cuts for everyone is crucial at a time of economic weakness in the country.
The two sides are to meet at the White House ahead of a lame-duck session of Congress that is convening this month to debate the tax cuts as well as a new spending bill.
There are increasing signs, however, that congressional Republicans are on a collision course with the president that may lead to two years of bitter partisanship.
Cantor on Sunday said Republicans would not go along with what he said was Obama’s “expansive liberal agenda.”
Also appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), who is in line to become chairman of the House Budget Committee next year, said Republicans would be looking ahead to 2012 to expand their majorities and repeal the new healthcare law.
That follows recent remarks by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that Republicans’ top priority over the next two years should be ensuring that Obama does not win a second term in 2012.