Lost in the tax cut dust House Minority Leader John Boehner kicked up Sunday is the fact that a number of Democrats have recently been open to the idea of a grand bargain on the Bush tax cuts: A brief extension of the cuts for top earners paired with a permanent extension of the tax cuts for the middle class. One of those Democrats is DCCC chairman Chris Van Hollen.
“If [Republicans] were to come back and say, ‘hey, let’s just do one year for the top 2 percent, and permanent for the middle class,’ that would be something that obviously people would have to think about,” Van Hollen said in an interview with Bloomberg this past weekend.
Van Hollen’s suggestion partially mirrors a plan outlined by former White House budget director Peter Orszag, who argued that Democrats and Republicans should back a fixed two year extension of all the tax cuts and then end them altogether.
Republicans cited Orszag’s proposal widely — but only the part where he backed extending all of the tax cuts. Broadly, the GOP has been opposed to any comprehensive solution that doesn’t involve either a permanent extension of all the Bush tax cuts or a temporary one that would require relitigating the tax cut fight in 2012 — another election year.
Van Hollen’s spokesman Doug Thornell echoed that point. “Republicans have no intention of doing this, so it is a moot point,” he said. “The bottom line is, other than Boehner, there doesn’t seem to be any Washington Republican open to working with us to provide 98% of Americans with a tax cut. That’s unbelievable.”
This post has been updated since 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.