House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday rejected extending tax cuts for the wealthiest tax bracket that are set to expire at the end of the year.
Pelosi took off the table a short-term extension of those cuts floated by some lawmakers in her own party.
"No," the speaker said at her weekly press conference when asked if the cuts for the highest bracket should be extended. "Our position has been that we support middle-class tax cuts."
The cuts implemented by President George W. Bush and Republicans in Congress are set to expire at the end of the year, allowing income tax rates to spring upward. Democrats have begun exploring a potential extension of the cuts, but only for households earning less than $250,000 per year.
"I believe the high-end tax cuts did not create any jobs, increased the deficit and should be repealed," she said.
A number of Democrats in the House and Senate in recent days have said they'd favor extending all of the tax cuts, partly because of the economy and partly because they fear any tax increases would be used against them in this fall's elections.
GOP lawmakers have hammered away at Democrats over the expiring cuts, incorporating them into their election year argument that Democrats would seek to raise taxes.
One option discussed by members of the House Ways and Means Committee would be to raise tax rates on families making more than $250,000, but delaying the rate increase until 2012.