Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has reiterated GOP lawmakers’ support for extending the payroll tax cut for another year, but Kentucky’s senior Senator says his party will oppose any hikes on wealthier Americans.
The Senate is expected to vote Thursday on a measure that would extend the cuts passed last year. The Democratic-sponsored bill would reduce taxes for workers by 3 percent, but would pay for it through a 3.25 percent tax increase on anyone earning more than $1 million annually.
President Obama has warned against failing to extend the cuts and blamed GOP lawmakers for stalling the legislation, saying it will hike taxes on middle-class families by $1,000. The president has ratcheted up the rhetoric for Congress to widen the relief, adding Republicans are more concerned with extending the Bush-era tax cuts for millionaires than preserving tax cuts for working families.
But McConnell says the president and congressional Democrats are trying to punish private sector job creators, and that would hamper small businesses.
“The president and Democrats in Congress are saying we ought to recoup the revenue we won’t get from one group of taxpayers by socking it to another group, a significant number of whom happen to be employers,” he says. “What this really means is that one way or another they want the money coming back to Washington — so that the president and his allies in Congress can divvy it up how they want, protecting and aiding the politically-favored few.”
McConnell declined to provide details on the Republican version of the bill that is being worked out, but other GOP lawmakers have leaked that it will be paid for in an “acceptable way” without hurting job growth.
If Congress does not act before the end of the year, the 6.2 percent tax will be restored and Mr. Obama has been pitching that message in swing-states, which observers point out could be a preview of next year’s presidential race.
The White House has claimed the additional money would be insurance for those still struggling in the economy, but McConnell says the plan gives more power to Washington.
“We can maintain this tax relief without raising taxes on job creators. If past experience shows us anything, it’s that Washington will only spend every dime it gets and then some anyway. We’ll never get this economy going again or help people create the wealth and jobs that America needs, if we continue to allow Washington to dictate all the rules of the game when it comes to our economy,” he says.