Washington, Sept.14 (ANI): The Senate Republican leader proposed legislation on Monday to continue all of the Bush-era tax cuts indefinitely, testing the willingness of Democrats to allow a tax increase on the wealthiest Americans in a weak economy and making clear that a partisan fight will extend deep into the campaign season if not beyond.
The proposal by the Senate leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, came a day after the House Republican leader, John A. Boehner of Ohio, suggested a potential compromise, saying he would vote for President Obama's plan to extend the cuts only for households earning less than 250,000 dollars if he had no other choice.
In part, McConnell's proposal illustrated the greater leverage that Republicans enjoy in the Senate, where they control 41 seats - enough to filibuster and block any bill.
According to the New York Times, while Boehner cannot stop House Democrats from forcing a vote on the president's favored tax plan, McConnell made clear that he would have a say and that he wanted to put a handful of wavering Senate Democrats on the spot.
McConnell's position also served as a political counterweight to Boehner's statement on Sunday, which suggested that some Republicans wanted to avoid a brawl in which they would be cast as blocking tax relief for the middle class to ensure that tax cuts continued for the wealthy. Senate Republicans, by contrast, seem to relish the fight.
Democrats immediately dismissed McConnell's plan, noting that he had not offered any way to make up the 700 billion dollars in lost revenue over 10 years that extending the tax breaks at the highest income levels would cost the government.
The White House suggested that Republicans were in disarray and at war with each other.
President Obama, at a town-hall-style meeting in Fairfax, Virginia, said that rich households would still benefit from his plan, with lower taxes on their first 250,000 dollars income, but that Republicans stood in the way.
"We could get that done this week, but we're still in this wrestling match with John Boehner and Mitch McConnell," Obama said. (ANI)