Vice President Joe Biden indicated that the White House could be ready to make a deal with Republicans on expanding the level of income that would qualify for the Bush tax cuts extension.
“Compromise is always possible,” he said in an interview Friday evening on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt.” “I think it’s important we get the middle-class tax cut made permanent. And so I think we’re open to speaking to the Republicans, if they really mean it, if they’re talking about deficit reduction, if they’re willing to move, I think there’s a possibility.” He added that a compromise was “a little premature,” however.
The administration has insisted that the tax cuts only be extended for couples making below $250,000 a year and individual taxpayers earning below $200,000 a year.
“I don’t have a problem with wealthy people getting a tax cut,” Biden said. “I mean, for real. I mean, these are good guys. But just to put this in perspective, of the tax cuts they want to extend, 120,000 families in the whole nation are going to get $375 billion in tax relief over the next 10 years. We think that should go to the deficit.”
Biden dismissed the idea that Congress would let all the Bush tax cuts expire, according to the Washington Post. White House spokesmen said the next day that Biden had not indicated anything different than what the administration had previously said about its position on the Bush tax cuts, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., dismissed Biden’s comments, however. “It’s a real challenge to believe it’s anything other than a pre-election attempt to distract voters from the administration’s record — and its oft-stated plan to sock America’s job creators with a massive new tax hike sometime between now and January,” he said in a statement.
Some Democrats believe there is room for compromise. Last month, 31 House Democrats sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., calling for a one-year extension of all the Bush tax cuts. At least five Senate Democrats agree. Others are calling for raising the level of income considered to qualify for the middle-class tax cuts. “I think the $250,000 level is too low,” said Sen. James Webb, D-Va., according to The New York Times. “I’m asking that it be raised.”