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Boehner Demands Up-or-Down Vote on Taxes

Today, Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), the House minority leader, called on Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to offer an up-or-down vote on an extension of all of the Bush tax cuts — rather than moving an alternative or compromise package.

It’s clear that there’s a growing chorus of Democrats here in Washington, including the Majority Leader Mr. Hoyer, and Mr. Van Hollen, and others, who agree with Republicans that raising taxes on anyone, especially small businesses, is the wrong thing to do in a struggling economy. This week I sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi asking her to allow nothing short of an up-or-down vote on a bill to stop all of the current tax hikes. In my letter, I reminded Speaker Pelosi and Representative Slaughter of the public backlash that occurred when they tried to short-circuit the rules to ram through the President’s health care bill. It became known as the “Slaughter Solution.” And the American people forced them to call it off.

On the issue of job-killing tax hikes, the American people are not going to accept anything less than the vote that they deserve. The Speaker should pledge to the American people, and when she stands before these cameras later on today, she ought to pledge that there will be an honest up-or-down vote on stopping all of the coming tax hikes. Anything less than that is unacceptable. If the Speaker allows an up-or-down vote, I’m confident that the American people will not see increases in their taxes.

Of course Democrats would rather vote for a temporary extension of all of tax cuts than let all of them expire, raising taxes even on low-income families. That is precisely why Democrats are in the process of hammering out a bill extending all the tax cuts for a certain period of time, or keeping the cuts for all but the richest 2.1 percent of Americans. ****

But a straight up-or-down vote would prove contentious, given that even some Republicans want to see the cuts expire. And Republicans thrive on that contention, that slowing-down of initiatives. In the words of Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), “complete gridlock” is a goal.

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