Boehner would vote for limited tax cuts if that's 'the only option' he has

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Sunday that he would back a bill supporting the extension of tax cuts for the middle class if that's all that is on the table, but stressed he's pushing for extension of all the Bush-era tax cuts.

"If the only option I have is to vote for some of those tax reductions I'll vote for them," Boehner said on CBS' "Face the Nation."

"But I've been making the point that we need to extend for all," he added.

Host Bob Schieffer pressed Boehner repeatedly on whether he would vote for a bill that didn't include the extension of tax cuts for those making over $250,000.

"If that's what we can get done," Boehner said. "But I think that's bad policy. I don't think that's going to help our economy."


Administration officials latched onto the comments as a signal to move on the limited tax-cut extensions.

“We agree on the middle class tax cuts. Let’s not hold them hostage while we debate whether are going to give this very small number of people at the top a tax cut which we can’t afford,” White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod said on NBC’s "Meet the Press."

"If he's truly saying that we can, as the president called for, get a broad consensus to extend the middle class tax cuts, we should do it," Austan Goolsbee, new chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said on ABC's "This Week."

"We shouldn't hold that hostage for the argument about the tax cuts just for the very, very highest income people," Goolsbee added.

Later on Sunday, the White House released a statement from press secretary Robert Gibbs: "We welcome John Boehner's change in position and support for the middle class tax cuts, but time will tell if his actions will be anything but continued support for the failed policies that got us into this mess."

Boehner encouraged the Obama administration to cut spending and said raising any taxes in a "very weak economy" was a "bad idea."

"If we're going to extend the tax cuts for some Americans, why don't we extend the current tax rates for all Americans?" he said.

Boehner stressed that there was still no bill to debate, but said there is a "growing chorus on Capitol Hill to extend all of these tax rates."

This post was updated at 5:40 p.m.