Democrats have been slow to respond to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) who on Tuesday urged them to abandon the framework that’s guided their tax reform negotiations with the GOP.
The GOP, by contrast, is coming at Schumer claws out.
“Sen. Schumer is now the second member of the Senate Democrat leadership to endorse ‘Thelma and Louise economics,’” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in an official response.
Senior Democrats are now openly acknowledging their plan to hold the economy hostage to massive, job-killing tax hikes, and espousing the fiscally irresponsible view that says the country should be driven off the fiscal cliff rather than Congress working toward bipartisan solutions to reform and strengthen entitlements without killing jobs. And he admits that Democrats don’t intend to reform entitlements or our tax code as a means to restore fiscal sanity, create jobs, or protect our seniors, but rather to use the effort as a lure to entice support for even more job-killing tax hikes. The Speaker and I have called for extending all the income tax rates for a year, ensuring that no one sees an income tax hike in January and preventing the economic harm and massive job loss that will come if Sen. Schumer and Washington Democrats follow through on their threats to drive us off the fiscal cliff. This uncertainty needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later. We need to find a way to deal with the sequester not by cutting a penny less, but by intelligently making the decisions that are necessary to keep our promise to reduce the debt by $2.1 trillion and to get our economy back on track.
Schumer called on Democrats to take a tougher line on tax reform, and not concede cutting tax rates on top earners. Kevin Smith, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, also provided a statement, defending the existing framework.
“A tax reform framework that lowers rates and closes loopholes has support from both parties, including the Obama Administration, and it offers the best hope for bipartisan efforts to create robust economic growth and reduce our deficit,” he said. “Sen. Schumer seems to be off on an island with these remarks.”
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.