House Republicans are sending a stark message to the White House: If President Barack Obama pushes for tax increases during the lame-duck session, it would ruin his chances for a productive second term.You know that Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor want nothing more than to give President Obama a productive second term. All they've done for the past two years is reach out to Obama to try to help him lead the nation, and do what's in the best interest of the entire country. No, they haven't been pouring poison into the well for the last two years by obstructing everything on Obama's agenda. Forget all that, they say. If Obama just gives them this one little thing they want, it'll be all sunshine and roses between them.
Republicans aren’t conceding that Obama will win Tuesday, but they’re warning that allowing tax rates on high-income Americans to increase at the end of the year—as Obama and Hill Democrats have proposed—will set a bad tone that would complicate major deal making in the 113th Congress.
“Poisoning the well right out of the gate makes no sense if the goal is a productive second term,” said one senior House GOP leadership aide.
The warning shows that Republicans are in a defensive posture already regarding the impending negotiations over taxes and spending that loom during the lame duck. And they fear Obama would use his reelection to justify an upper income tax increase.
Why in the world, House Republicans are saying, would the president try to govern on what he promised the country he would do—raise taxes on the wealthy—and the whole idea that got him elected. And why would he do that when the entire country rejected the basic principle of the Romney campaign, that taxes for rich people need to be even lower?
This should be an easy call for Obama and Senate Democrats. Do nothing in the lame duck. Don't bargain in any way with House Republicans. Let the tax cuts all expire. Make them come back in January and attempt to hold tax cuts for the middle class hostage.
They're cornered and they know it. That's why they're so furiously trying to draw lines in the sand before the voting is even done.
Here's our last chance to up-end the House GOP's hostage taking plans. Help put the House back in Democrats' hands.