Pelosi Wants GOP Defectors to Force Vote on Senate's Tax Cuts
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she'll try to force a vote on the Senate's extension of Bush-era tax cuts for the middle class only if Speaker John Boehner (R-Calif.) refuses to bring it to the floor next week.
"If it is not scheduled, then on Tuesday, we will be introducing a discharge petition which you know, if we could 218 signatures would bring the bill automatically to the floor. Now that would mean that we need some Republicans who support middle income tax cuts to sign on with us," Pelosi said at a press conference today.
She predicted that the extension, which doesn't address the contentious cuts for upper-income brackets, "would get 100 percent vote on it if it came to the floor."
"This is only one piece of what we have to do before we leave for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, every other holiday that is coming up," Pelosi said.
Republicans weren't exactly in a giving mood, though, after hearing about President Obama's new "compromise" starting point today.
The proposal made by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to GOP leaders on the Hill today proposed $1.6 trillion in tax hikes, at least $50 billion in new stimulus spending, and removal of the debt ceiling in exchange for $400 billion in entitlement cuts. The offer was reportedly greeted with laughter.
"The White House took three weeks to respond with any kind of a proposal. And much to my disappointment it wasn't a serious one," Boehner said in a press conference today. "Still, I'm willing to move forward in good faith. Our original framework still stands. Instead of raising tax rates, we can produce a similar amount of revenue, reforming the tax code to close loopholes, and lower tax rates. That's far better for the economy. And the American people actually favor that approach by 2:1."
Boehner said he'd been guarded with his words during the stalemate "because I don't want to make it harder for me, or the president, or members of both parties to be able to find common ground."
"While I may be affable, and someone that can work with members of both parties, which I've demonstrated over the 22 years that I've been here, I'm also rather determined to solve our spending problem, and to solve this looming debt crisis that is about to consume us," he said.