Continued from page 2

“Basically, the public does not think now is the time to increase taxes, by any stretch,” he said. “Ultimately, it’s going to come back to the Democrats to prove that they’re not increasing taxes on small businesses, which, given the number of small businesses that [fall into high income-tax brackets], they’re not going to be able to do.”

A small but growing number of congressional Democrats seem to agree. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, North Dakota Democrat, and fellow Midwestern Democrats Sens. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Evan Bayh of Indiana recently expressed support for continuing all of the tax cuts, at least until the economy stabilizes.

Democrats, who are struggling to preserve their majorities in both chambers of Congress this fall, would be politically wise to push for such an extension, said John C. Fortier, a political analyst with the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative-leaning Washington think tank.

“The easiest thing in a way is for a temporary extension for everything and that just kicks it down the road for some later fight,” he said.

If Democrats wait to move on the issue until the congressional “lame duck” session after the November elections, as some are speculating, party leaders will find a difficult political climate to advance their agenda, Mr. Fortier said.

“Elections tend to change the dynamic significantly,” he said.

In her appearance on ABC on Sunday, Mrs. Pelosi was asked whether the House should vote before the election and said, “It would be my hope.”