House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) signaled Friday she is not softening her opposition to extending the Bush-era tax cuts for high income earners.

Asked whether she would accept even a temporary extension of all the cuts like some Democrats want, Pelosi said that it is time to let them expire for the upper income brackets and be extended for the middle class.

ADVERTISEMENT
"The position that we have, and which is the position the president has put forth, is that everybody should get a tax cut in our country," the outgoing Speaker told NPR. "The problem comes," she said, "when an additional tax cut to the wealthy is two percent that will heap $700 billion in debt" upon the country's children.

Pelosi's comments indicate that Republicans and Democrats are headed for a stand-off on the tax cuts when Congress returns for its lame-duck session next week.

House GOP Whip Eric CantorEric CantorEric Cantor offering advice to end ‘immigration wars’ Trump's olive branch differs from the golden eras of bipartisanship After divisive rally, Trump calls for unity MORE (Va.), the incoming majority leader, and other key Republicans said this week they do not plan to back down on their support for extending all of the tax cuts, which expire Jan. 1. Even though House Democrats were swept out of power in the midterm elections, they will still control the lower chamber when Congress meets starting Nov. 15.

Pelosi's take comes a day after White House senior adviser David Axelrod caused a stir by suggesting the Obama administration could be willing to back a temporary extension for all the tax cuts if that was the best way to renew the middle-class cuts. 

But Pelosi said that the cuts, instituted by the GOP in 2001 and 2003, have not been effective.

"Those tax cuts have been effect for a very long time, they did not create jobs," she said, adding later, "From day one, President Obama and this Congress have been job creators."

But Democrats have been pulled apart over what to do with the tax cuts. Centrist Democrats, many of whom were not reelected but will return for the lame-duck, support extending the cuts for at least one or two years due to the poor economy.

Republicans are largely united in wanting a permanent extension.