By S.A. MILLER
Last Updated: 6:31 AM, September 27, 2010
Posted: 2:12 AM, September 27, 2010
WASHINGTON -- House Minority Leader John Boehner yesterday blasted Democrats for punting a tax-cut vote until after the midterm elections, calling it the "most irresponsible thing I've seen since I've been in Washington, DC."
"Congress has an opportunity this week to end some of the uncertainty by allowing the American people to know what the tax rates are going to be at the end of the year," Boehner (R-Ohio) told "Fox News Sunday."
"To adjourn without dealing with this means that in [the Democrats'] minds, the elections are more important than jobs for the American people." But House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) -- while confirming that the tax vote would, indeed, be put off until after Nov. 2 -- insisted that there was no uncertainty about extending middle-class tax cuts.
"There will be no increase in middle-income taxes," he vowed on the same show.
President Obama and other Democratic leaders are on record as wanting to extend former President George W. Bush's tax cuts only for households with incomes up to $250,000 a year.
The idea, they maintain, is to whack the rich with higher taxes in order to help pay down the government's debt.
The Bush tax cuts, enacted in 2001 and 2003, are due to expire at year's end. If Congress lets that happens, it would trigger tax hikes for everyone.
Republicans and a growing number of rank-and-file Democrats say they are staunchly opposed to raising taxes on anybody in tough economic times.
"It was the Democrats themselves who decided not to have this debate," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said yesterday on ABC's "This Week."
"And you know why? Thirty-one Democrats in the House, five Democrats in the Senate said they agreed with me -- that we ought not to raise taxes in the middle of a recession."
But Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), a member of the Democratic leadership team, shot back, calling the Republicans' defense of tax cuts for the rich just a bunch of "nonsense."
"I don't see all this job creation as a result of those tax cuts," Van Hollen told NBC's "Meet the Press," noting that the cuts "have been in effect for nine years."