WASHINGTON (CNN) - Despite it being one of their top priorities, congressional Republicans won’t push to make permanent many of the expiring tax cuts enacted in President Bush’s first term as part of an upcoming economic stimulus package, two Senate Republican leadership aides told CNN.
“I don’t think we can get 10 Democrats to support it,” said one of the aides who noted that such meager Democratic support would keep the proposal from getting the 60 votes it needs to pass the Senate.
In early positioning over the issue, Democrats had bluntly warned Republicans making permanent the controversial tax cuts was a non-starter and that a protracted battle over the issue could stall speedy passage of a stimulus package.
“Renewing the Bush tax cuts, which don’t expire until the end of 2010, should be off the table because they will thwart any chance of passing any stimulus,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, a leading Democrat on the issue.
Republicans won’t abandon their efforts to make permanent the cuts, the aides said, but will wait for another day to make their case. Without congressional action, several tax rates will go up beginning in 2009 including rates on income taxes, dividends, capital gains, and the estate tax.
–CNN's Ted Barrett, Brianna Keilar and Deirdre Walsh