Washington (CNN) – The White House is signaling that it is willing to negotiate on extending the Bush tax cuts, even for the wealthiest Americans, in order to deliver on its promise to extend tax cuts for middle class Americans.
In an interview with the Huffington Post on Wednesday, White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod seemed to open the door to the extension of the cuts for American households making more than $250,000 a year, citing the poltical reality that has resulted from the loss of Democratic seats in Congress in last week's midterm elections.
Extending tax cuts for the top income bracket had previously been a red line the administration refused to cross.
"We have to deal with the world as we find it," Axelrod said in the interview. "The world of what it takes to get this done."
There are concerns," he said about Congress continuing to kick the issue down the road by passing temporary extensions for wealthy Americans each time the issue emerges. "But I don't want to trade away security for the middle class in order to make that point."
Throughout his campaign, and the first two years of his administration, President Obama has said he wanted to keep the tax cuts passed by the Bush administration in place for income levels clocking in at less than $250,000. Extending them for the wealthiest Americans would add another $700 billion to the deficit the administration has said.
"The president has been clear that extending tax cuts for middle class families is his top priority and he is open to compromise to get that done," White House Deputy Communications Director Jen Psaki said in a written statement Thursday morning.
A spokesman for likely House Speaker John Boehner praised Axelrod's position in a statement:
"Republicans made a pledge to America to permanently stop all of the tax hikes scheduled for January 1st. We're glad to see that the President's most trusted advisor now agrees with this course of action, and hope he and the President will show leadership by convincing Speaker Pelosi to stop these tax hikes permanently in the upcoming lame duck session," said spokesman Michael Steel.