McConnell Says Republicans Must Block Obama Tax Hikes

Nov 05, 2010   

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) spoke on November 4, 2010 at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., laying out his roadmap for the future of the Republican Party agenda in the aftermath of the election. What is among the top GOP priorities according to McConnell? Blocking President Obama from raising taxes.

“[W]hat can Americans expect from Republicans now? On the economy,” promised McConnell, “we will work hard to ensure Democrats dont raise taxes on anybody, especially in the middle of a recession.”

Since President Obamas election in 2008, the Republican Party has been focused on keeping the President from raising taxes. The drumbeat has been that the Bush-era tax cuts, which are set to expire at the end of this year, must remain in place. In 2001 and 2003, Bush enacted several major tax cuts including:

  • A reduction of individual income tax rates from 15, 28, 31, 36, and 39.6 percent to 10, 15, 25, 28, 33, and 35 percent;
  • Lowered tax rates for dividends and capital gains;
  • An increase in the child tax credit from $500 to $1,000;
  • A phased-in reduction in estate taxes, and a one-year repeal in 2010;
  • A big expansion of tax-favored retirement savings plans.

Republicans have warned that allowing these tax cuts to expire during the current recession will further damage the overall U.S. economy and cause even higher unemployment.

Fresh from his “shellacking” in Tuesdays election, President Obama seems to be extending an olive branch to the Republicans when it comes to the tax cuts. White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs said Thursday “ after McConnells speech “ that while Obama believes that extending tax cuts permanently for upper income earners “is something the President does not believe is a good idea,” Obama may be open to the possibility of extending the cuts for one or two years.

How would McConnell respond to this offer of détente on tax cuts?

“The formula is simple, really,” said McConnell on Thursday, “when the administration agrees with the American people, we will agree with the administration. When it disagrees with the American people, we wont. If the administration wants cooperation, it will have to begin to move in our direction.”

While the olive branch is looking a little bedraggled and singed from the fiery rhetoric, according to McConnell, “There is no reason we cant work together to prevent a tax hike on small businesses.”

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