An Associated Press story made waves this morning, by claiming that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had received a pledge from every member of his caucus to block tax legislation unless it extends all of the Bush tax cuts, even for the richest Americans.
This morning spokesman Don Stewart told TPM that article is incorrect. “They’re correcting this story,” Stewart says. “I only said what I’ve been saying for months: there are no Republicans who support tax hikes (and a growing chorus of Democrats oppose them too).”
There’s a big difference. In response to the original report, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pounced.
“It is unconscionable for Senate Republicans to hold middle-class tax cuts hostage in order to secure more tax giveaways for millionaires and CEOs who ship American jobs overseas,” he said in a statement. “Today’s declaration by Senate Republicans means they are willing to raise taxes on the middle class and small businesses in the middle of a recession…by this Republican logic, until rich CEOs get what they want, middle-class families can’t get what they need.”
Now, of course, it’s still possible that all Republicans in the Senate will unite to filibuster a tax bill that doesn’t extend tax cuts to the rich. If history is any indication, that’s the most likely scenario. And with other members, like Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) saying they’ll do “everything in their power” to make sure the tax cuts for the wealthy are extended, that filibuster may have bipartisan support. But it’s still not clear whether every Republican will, like House Minority Leader John Boehner, vote for middle class tax cuts alone if that’s the “only option.”
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.