White House spokesman Jay Carney ducked a question about President Obama putting some Democrats from swing states in a difficult position with his support for increasing tax cuts on wealthy Americans.
The House of Representatives passed a one-year extension of all Bush-era tax breaks Wednesday 256-171, with 19 Democrats supporting the plan and just one Republican voting against it.
Democrats and Mr. Obama want to keep the tax cuts for the first $250,000 of household income but increase taxes for those above that threshold.
During a press briefing on Air Force One on Thursday, Mr. Carney was asked whether the president was prepared to criticize Democrats who want to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
“Well, he doesn’t support that position,” Mr. Carney said. “It’s not just an esoteric position the president’s taking. It’s based on what we know happened when those tax cuts were passed … When the Bush tax cuts were passed, he and the American people were told that they would cause a huge increase in economic growth, a huge increase in job creation. Neither happened.”
Instead, Mr. Carney argued, the cuts brought slow economic growth, “anemic” job creation, an economic crisis and “record” deficits. “That was the legacy of those policies of the previous administration.”
“[The] only obstacle to ensuring that 99 percent of the American people don’t see their taxes rise on Jan. 1 is the obstinate refusal of Republicans to let go of the idea that millionaires and billionaires need a tax cut,” he said. “Let’s not hold middle-class tax cuts hostage to the idea that folks making over $250,000 need a tax cut.”
The White House has previously said it would veto any tax-cut bill that didn’t also raise taxes on the wealthy.