A number of high-profile Democratic senators signaled that they are willing to compromise on tax rates for high earners, Politico reports.
President Barack Obama, who campaigned in 2008 on a promise of reforming Washington and "post-partisanship," has not given any similar indications of a willingness to compromise:
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois is floating a six-month extension of current rates combined with budget cuts so lawmakers have time to reach a grand bargain deal early next year. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and other Democrats are open to a temporary extension of the top individual tax rate if Republicans agree to raise revenue in other parts of the Tax Code. Some liberals, like New Jersey Rep. Bill Pascrell, aren’t ruling out extending the current rates if the GOP agrees to sweeteners like a patch on the alternative minimum tax or extending dozens of lapsed business tax breaks.
And Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, along with several of his colleagues, won’t take any option off the table, knowing full well that high-stakes talks over taxes could result in any number of outcomes.
Politico also noted that the competing and incongruous messages display the tension between legislative reality and presidential campaigns.
Amy Brundage, a White House spokeswoman, said Obama would veto an extension of the tax cuts for high earners, saying, a "trillion-dollar tax cut for millionaires and billionaires" is something the country can’t afford.
The "top brackets aren’t a huge driver of the deficit," the Politico article argued, as the government would only raise $68 billion by raising rates on people with incomes over $250,000.