Boehner won't rule out 37% tax rate

Boehner won't rule out 37% tax rate

Posted in the Minneapolis Forum

Bob Schmahl

Minneapolis, MN

#1 Dec 8, 2012
Congressional leaders in both parties Friday signaled they would be open to compromise on top-bracket tax rates, in what could be a potential middle ground on the fiscal cliff.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was asked about a top rate of 37 percent — roughly halfway between current rates of 35 percent and 39.6 percent, where rates return to at the end of December — and declined to rule it out.

There are a lot of things that are possible to put the revenue the president seeks on the table,” Boehner said in a Friday news conference.“But none of it’s going to be possible if the president insists on his position. Insists on my way or the highway. That’s not the way to get to an agreement that I think is important for the American people and very important for our country.”

Shortly after, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said her goal is to “protect the middle class.”

“It’s not about the rates,” Pelosi said in the Capitol.“It’s about the money….It’s about getting the money to reduce the deficit, to grow the economy and to unleash that power.”

On Friday, Pelosi headed to the White House for a one-on-one meeting with President Barack Obama.

She added that she didn’t know if a top rate of 37 percent would bring in sufficient revenue. The White House has said 39.6 percent is its preference but has not ruled out 37 percent.

There are still lots of questions about a middle ground of 37 percent. It would be difficult for Boehner to raise marginal income rates unless Obama offered up major concessions on entitlement spending, since Boehner has expressed full-throated opposition to tax increases

And discussions are not even close. Boehner, at his Capitol news conference, said there is “no progress to report” in ongoing talks with the White House to avert massive tax hikes and deep federal spending reductions set to begin in a matter of weeks.

All income tax rates jump to 1990s-era levels on Dec. 31, and deep spending cuts to domestic and defense spending take hold at the beginning of the year. But Boehner (R-Ohio) and President Barack Obama remain nowhere close to an agreement. Both sides have rejected each other’s offers.

The White House believes it has the leverage, because it is willing to plunge off the so-called fiscal cliff if House Republicans don’t agree to hike tax rates. Boehner called that “reckless talk.”

“Even if the president got the tax rate hike that he wanted, understand that we would continue to see trillion-dollar deficits for as far as the eye can see,” Boehner said, speaking outside of his office with an open shirt and no tie.“If the president doesn’t agree with our proposal I believe that he’s got an obligation to families and small businesses to offer a plan of his own, a plan that could pass both chambers of the Congress.

“We’re ready and eager to talk to the president about such a plan.”

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