Boehner Presses Pelosi for Vote on Full Extension of Bush-Era Tax Cuts

ABC News’ John R. Parkinson reports:

House Minority Leader John Boehner today repeated his appeal to Speaker Nancy Pelosi to hold a vote on a Republican-led proposal to extend all of the Bush-era tax cuts before the House adjourns and members return to their districts to campaign for reelection.

“If Democratic leaders leave town without stopping all the tax hikes, they are turning their backs on the American people. Adjourning the Congress at the end of this week without a vote to stop all the tax hikes will be a vote to raise taxes on the American people and destroy jobs,” Boehner said today in a paper statement. “To deny Republican and many Democratic members their right to offer alternative legislation to stop all the tax hikes would be an obvious attempt to circumvent the will of the House and the American people.”

Boehner, R-Ohio, wrote a letter to the speaker on September 14 asking the Pelosi to allow the GOP proposal to be considered on the House floor under the rules of suspension, which require a two-thirds majority to pass legislation, rather than a simple majority vote.

“The ‘stimulus’ has failed, and more than two million Americans have lost their jobs since it was enacted. The economic uncertainty facing entrepreneurs and employers is crippling small business job creation, and it’s long past time for this Congress to act to help get the economy back on track,” Boehner said. “The House should have a free and open debate where alternatives can be debated and voted on, and if the Speaker isn’t willing to allow an open process she shouldn’t count on our votes. We’re confident that if our plan to stop all of the tax hikes on American families and small businesses was given a vote in the House, it would pass.” Pelosi has signaled that the House could adjourn as early as the end of this week, timed with the end of the fiscal year Thursday, September 30. The House is not expected to take up the tax cuts issue before adjournment, which is officially still scheduled for October 8 th. The Senate announced last Thursday it will wait until the lame duck session after the November 2 nd election to consider what to do about the tax cuts, which are set to expire January 1, 2011.

Still, the speaker has not completely closed the door on bringing tax cuts legislation to the House floor before the House adjourns. President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and the Democratic leadership prefer that the House extend only the Bush-era tax cuts for individuals earning an annual income up to $200,000 and families making up to $250,000. Boehner and a bipartisan majority including more than 30 House Democrats have called on Congress to extend the tax cuts for all income levels, including those in the highest tier.

“We will retain the right to proceed as we choose. We’ll take it one day at a time,” Pelosi told reporters at her weekly press conference last week. “But let me be very clear, as we have all been clear in the House Democratic leadership: America’s middle class will have a tax cut, it will be done in this congress. There is no question about that.”

--John R. Parkinson

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