Democrats will not rule out compromising with Republicans on the Bush tax cuts benefiting the wealthiest Americans, according to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.
At his weekly press availability this morning, Hoyer declined to draw a bright line on the issue of tax cuts for the rich, adding to the uncertainty over whether Democrats will force Republicans to choose between tax cuts for the middle class, or no tax cuts at all.
“I’m always, as you know, prepared to discuss alternatives so that we can move forward,” Hoyer told reporters.
Though Democrats have committed to ensuring that tax cuts for middle-income brackets are extended permanently, they have yet to determine how or when they’ll accomplish that, let alone whether they might be amenable to a temporary extension of tax cuts for the rich. Hoyer said that he personally supports Obama’s tax plan and eventually wants to offset the middle class tax cuts.
Nevertheless, they’re hoping that House Minority Leader John Boehner’s moment of candor this past Sunday has exposed the GOP’s dilemma, giving them an upper hand in the debate.
“Mr. Boehner made the mistake of a few short seconds of reasonableness which lead the Wall Street Journal to say that he was maybe not appropriate to be the Speaker,” Hoyer said. “So I’m not sure where they’re going to go. So I don’t want to anticipate what they would or would not do.”
[Ed note: This post was edited after publication.]
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.