The White House is brushing off all the fuss over Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s plans to scrap President Obama’s suggested offsets for the Jobs Act before bringing it to the floor for a vote next week.
“The pay-fors are incidental, if you will,” Carney told reporters at a Wednesday briefing. “The meat of this proposal is putting teachers back to work…incentivizing small businesses to hire more workers…and that will be voted on. How you pay for it has always been open to debate.”
As long as the Senate ensures that plans to pay for the $447 billion bill are “fair and balanced,” and not overly burdensome on seniors and the middle class, President Obama is okay with the changes, Carney said.
Obama has proposed paying for his jobs plan by increasing taxes on couples making more than $250,000, but Tuesday Reid said he was having a hard time convincing his Democratic colleagues to accept tax hikes at that level. Later, on Wednesday, Reid announced a plan to replace Obama’s revenue-raisers with a 5 percent income tax surcharge on millionaires. The proposal would raise $445 billion over 10 years, sufficient to cover the proposed spending in the President’s jobs plan.
Even though the jobs act is expected to hit a brick wall in the House, which Republicans control, the surcharge idea has widespread Democratic appeal because it forces Republicans to defend millionaire salaries at the expense of job creation.
The one aspect of Reid’s pay-for plans that could trip up the White House, is the date the new tax hikes kick in. Reid’s plan, according to reports, would make the tax increases effective in 2012, while the tax hikes in Obama’s plan would not go into effect until 2013.
On the stump, Obama has rejected criticism by Republicans that his party wants to impose “massive, job-killing tax increases” that would harm the economic recovery.
“No one is talking about raising taxes right now,” the President said back in July. “I have bent over backwards to work with the Republicans to come up with a formulation that doesn’t require them to vote sometime in the next month to increase taxes.”