Washington (CNN) - Add Rep. Mike Pence to the list of possible 2012 GOP presidential hopefuls who are coming out against the tax cut compromise between President Barack Obama and congressional Republican leaders.
Pence took to the floor of the House Wednesday morning to spell out his opposition:
"Since last summer I have urged this congress to take action to prevent a tax increase that would affect every American in January of next year. So I rise with a heavy heart this morning to simply announce to my colleagues that I believe the short term tax deal negotiated by the White House and congressional leaders is a bad deal for taxpayers, will do little to create jobs and I cannot support it. Despite the fact that last November the American people did not vote for more deficits, more stimulus or more uncertainty in the tax code that is just what this lame duck congress is about to give them."
Pence, who made similar comments Tuesday on conservative Sean Hannity's radio program, is also co-sponsoring amendment to make the Bush-era tax cuts permanent for all Americans.
The Republican congressman from Indiana's 6th Congressional District easily won re-election last month, beating his Democratic challenger by more than a two to one margin.
The third ranking House Republican then announced that he would step down at the end of the year from his leadership role as Republican Conference Chairman, sparking more speculation that Pence might be gearing up for a White House bid or a run for Indiana governor.
Pence joins 2008 Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as possible 2012 White House contenders who have voiced opposition to the deal, which includes a two-year extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans. Without congressional action, those tax cut rates are set to expire December 31.
The compromise would also extend unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed for 13 months, cut the payroll tax by two percentage points for a year, raise the estate tax exemption to up to $5 million, with a 35 percent tax rate for inheritances above that level, and continue a series of other tax breaks.
Palin criticized the plan last week on her Twitter account, while Romney Tuesday came out with an op-ed in the USA Today that spelled out his opposition. Hours later, Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, who is also weighing a presidential bid, took to the Senate floor to defend the agreement and used his speech to take a veiled shot at potential rivals for the GOP presidential nomination who have criticized the deal.
According to a Pew Research Center poll released earlier this week, 62 percent of Republicans say they approve of the tax cut compromise.
- CNN's Mark Preston and Virginia Nicolaidis contributed to this report