GOP leaders cite Clinton and push for one year extension of all tax rates
June 6th, 2012
03:01 PM ET
6 years ago

GOP leaders cite Clinton and push for one year extension of all tax rates

Washington (CNN) - Congressional Republicans Wednesday seized on comments from former President Bill Clinton – who suggested a day earlier he could support a short term extension of all the so-called "Bush" tax rates set to expire at the end of the year.

GOP leaders said they wanted a minimum one year extension of all of the current tax cuts, and cited Clinton's remarks in order to put pressure on Democrats who favor just continuing the tax breaks for the middle class. Republicans argued that no changes should be made to tax rates at a time when the economy is still fragile.

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House Speaker John Boehner said the rates should be extended "at least a year" to give employers financial certainty. Republicans have been discussing options for what kind of short term extension they would push as they work toward a broader tax reform measure next year. But it was the first time Boehner publicly stated he wanted the one year extension.

In an interview on CNBC on Tuesday, Clinton said he believed the major fight over taxes would be put off until next year due to the economic situation, and said "I don't have any problem with extending all of it now" - referring to the tax rates. Even though Clinton made it clear in the same interview that he did not support making the Bush tax cuts permanent, which Republicans want, the GOP quickly raced to frame Clinton's comments as undercutting President Obama and Democrats' position.

The former President's spokesman later clarified that "President Clinton has said many times before, he supported extending all of the cuts in 2010 as part of the budget agreement, but does not believe the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans should be extended again."

Boehner used the clarification to tweak the former President, saying, "Even Bill Clinton came out for it, before he was against it."

GOP leaders also pointed to comments by Clinton's former Treasury Secretary, and Obama's former economic advisor, Larry Summers in an interview on MSNBC, who said "the real risk to this economy is on the side of slowdown…and that means we've got to make sure that we don't take gasoline out of the tank at the end of this year." Though Summers didn't specifically call for an extension of the tax breaks, and the examples he gave for boosting the economy involved spending, the GOP used both Democrats' comments as a way to underline their point that tax rates should stay unchanged as the economy continues to recover.

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell noted that President Obama signed on to extend some tax cuts in 2010 because he believed it was best for the struggling economy. McConnell noted, "the growth rate now is actually slower than it was in December of '10." The Republican leader echoed Boehner, saying, "it's pretty obvious that the economy needs the certainty of the extension of the current tax rates for at least a year."

Democrats said the GOP is still focused on protecting the rich at the expense of middle income taxpayers.

"President Obama's been clear about his position and it has not changed. We should not extend, and he will not extend the tax cuts, the Bush-era tax cuts, for the wealthiest two percent of the American people," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

Boehner's spokesman Kevin Smith said the Speaker and other Republicans raised Clinton and Summers' comments at the weekly GOP meeting and said the Democrats' statements served to "throw gas on the fire" as the debate over how to deal with the tax rates continues in the next few weeks. The House is expected to vote next month on a measure to extend the rates, but leaders are still discussing the details. But few on Capitol Hill believe real talks on the issue will begin until after the fall election.

On Thursday, CNN's Wolf Blitzer will sit down with former President Bill Clinton for an extensive interview from the Clinton Global Initiative in Chicago. The interview will air at 4 p.m. ET.

Also see:

Romney reacts to Wisconsin recall vote

Texas a cash cow for Romney

Jill Biden weighs into 2016

Filed under: Bill Clinton • Congress • President Obama • Taxes
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. ThinkAgain

    Absolutely NO extension of the Bush tax cuts! Why? Because they haven't caused the rich to invest in the US and we could use it to pay down the debt and invest in our country.

    American companies are sitting on $2 trillion. What are they waiting for? Why aren't they investing here? I thought all these folks were "job creators"? Where are the jobs?

    June 6, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  2. Dave

    The Rich, Richer & Richest Publicans dont give a damn about this Deficit. Now, & I mean Now is the Time to raise taxes on every man woman & child that is working to stop the Bleeding. Its Time America. Forget the Blame Game. 1 % on every paycheck to go directly to the RED. Now is the Time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 6, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  3. Dave

    My Bad, & all the Filthy Rich Like Mr Personality. 13.8 % huh. & you wonder why America aint paying its Bills!!!!!!!!

    June 6, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    Nice job of compartmentalization, GOP: you keep yammering on about the debt, then conveniently forget about it when a chance comes up to discuss tax cuts. If the tax cuts are a bigger priority than the debt, admit it. For once, be honest.

    June 6, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  5. Delusional Democrats Whining Crying Blaming, My Dream Has Come True

    First off, these are now the OBAMA tax cuts. HE extended them, HE owns them. Second, Obama is no Bill Clinton. He's a far left ideologue that would rather see the economy tank than let people keep the money they made. His definittion of "fairness" must be forced on all of us, just like Obamacare.

    June 6, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  6. Dean

    Dave the 13.8% is on the money that he has already paid 36% taxes on.

    June 6, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  7. Bob

    Tax cuts have not created a single job. They have only put millions more in the pockets of Romney and his undeserving ilk.

    June 6, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  8. Myviewis

    I believe that President Obama will extend the Bush Tax Cuts. I have a feeling that Obama will make a financial evaluation, financial analysis, assessing the risks and of the impact the Bush Tax Cuts have made on the health of small businesses.

    June 6, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  9. Dave

    No it aint dean, Romney dont work, Its called Capitol Gaines

    June 6, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  10. Dave

    Yo Dean, Ya wanna tell me taht Mittster pays 49.8 %??. What are you Smokin?????????

    June 6, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  11. Common Cents

    This guy is a moron => Delusional Democrats Whining Crying Blaming, My Dream Has Come True

    Nope, still the Bush tax cuts. Obama wanted to scale them down by getting rid of the cuts for the highest earners (who don't need them), but it was the crybaby GOP that would rather hold the country hostage than raise taxes on millionaires, leaving the President no choice. If the change was made, then you could call them the Obama Tax cuts. You can't have it both ways, genius.

    June 6, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  12. 2012liberal

    The problem with extending tax cuts is one of many. But they want off sets w spending cuts- cut children, students, disabled and elderly. Where's the give?

    June 6, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    What ever happened to the promise George W. Bush made to The People that his tax cuts were temporary, and that they would not be made permanent? Republicans today claim that they were always intended to be made permanent. Well, we knew that that was the unspoken agenda all along, but that is not how it was sold to The People.

    June 6, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  14. The Real Tom Paine

    -Delusional Democrats Whining Crying Blaming, My Dream Has Come True

    First off, these are now the OBAMA tax cuts. HE extended them, HE owns them. Second, Obama is no Bill Clinton. He's a far left ideologue that would rather see the economy tank than let people keep the money they made. His definittion of "fairness" must be forced on all of us, just like Obamacare.
    Kind of like the GOP definition of Liberty, eh? The BUSH Tax Cuts were initiated by him, ergo, they are the BUSH tax cuts. Once again, righties running like scalded dogs from disasters they create. Can anyone get Romney to comment on the Individual Mandate he created in MA, the one that appears in dozens of emails released earlier this week?

    June 6, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  15. rs

    America cannot afford the rich anymore! End the Bush tax cuts and restore sanity in federal finance.

    June 6, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  16. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The tax rates need to be slowly returned to normal pre-Bush levels. No one likes paying taxes, but we have to pay down the debt with the increase in revenue. Loopholes also need to be cleared as well before rates are reduced. We don't know for sure how much more the fixes to the loopholes will bring in.

    June 6, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  17. rs

    The reason this sort of economic plan (allowing the rich huge, and un-needed tax breaks) is called "Voodoo Economics" is that after decades proving that giving rich people money does nothing for the economy, one really needs faith and some basic, primitive beliefs to think that the now even-richer class is somehow going to create jobs. It just doesn't happen.

    Build demand, increase spending- you build jobs. Giving the rich tax breaks just makes the rest of us broke, and takes away vital social services (that the rich don't need).

    June 6, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  18. Richard "BONEHEAD" Cheney

    OK Bhoner...which is it tax breaks or deficit reduction. Can't have it both ways.

    June 6, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  19. Thomas

    One thin about Bill ,he's always in it for Bill!

    President Bill Clinton repealed the Glass-Steagall Act which had prevented the coupling of investment banking and lending.

    Thanks Bill !

    June 6, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  20. Mammy

    Poor people are poor because Jesus hates them.

    June 6, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  21. Myviewis

    People, if Obama truly was financially convinced that the Bush Tax Cuts are for the rich and they serve no financial assistance, relief, help to small businesses Obama would have made a stronger case against them. I think that the Wisconsin outcome might stir him to leave the Bush Tax Cuts for another year.

    June 6, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  22. grawson

    Dear GOP leaders: You familiar with the phrase associated with a rolling donut? Do that.

    June 6, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  23. Myviewis

    I don't think anybody is buying the rich gimick anymore. Look at the voting in Wisconsin, the same gimick of the anti-rich was used and it didn't work. People are no longer looking at the small business as the enemy.

    June 6, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  24. Boo

    The cons are MORONS of the highest's apparent not one of these idiots can add or subtract....and their supporters are just as STUPID.

    June 6, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  25. The REAL Truth...

    @Delusional Democrats – First off, these are now the OBAMA tax cuts. HE extended them, HE owns them. Second, Obama is no Bill Clinton. He's a far left ideologue that would rather see the economy tank than let people keep the money they made.
    You are as delusional as your name implies. These are Dubya's tax cuts, anyway you right wingnuts want to spin them. Congress extended them – as the Repugs REFUSED to REPEAL them... that was agreed to as part of one of the debt ceiling increases. The Grand Obstructionist Party agreed (with Obama) to a 1-yr extension (versus their initial desire to make them PERMANENT), knowing they could use them as fodder for the Nov elections, and could make them permanent IF the GOP wins the White House. That was Obama compromise as part of one if the Jobs Bill's the GOP killed. Yet you insist on believing that they have your best interests at heart! That is about as delusional as it gets!

    June 6, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
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