Speaker-designate John Boehner (R-Ohio) charged that Democratic leaders "undercut" conversations on extending the Bush tax cuts by scheduling a vote on the House floor for Thursday.
The top-ranking House Republican responded on Wednesday evening to the decision by Democrats to hold a vote on extending only a portion of the George W. Bush-era tax cuts that are set to expire at the end of the year.
"While we had a good meeting at the White House yesterday about how we'll resolve the issue of stopping all the tax hikes, the House leaders are going to go down this path of gerrymandering the process so that members only have one option, and that's to vote on only providing some tax relief to the American people. I think it's wrong, it does undercut the conversation we had just yesterday," Boehner told reporters following a meeting with Senate GOP leaders and a gaggle of newly elected GOP Governors.
Boehner added, "I don't know what my colleagues across the aisle didn't hear during the election, the American people spoke pretty loudly. They said stop all the looming tax hikes and to cut spending."
Earlier Wednesday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) announced that the House would vote on permanently extending the tax cuts, enacted in 2001 and 2003, for American families earning as much as $250,000 a year. But that would not address the income tax rates for the highest earners, which includes a number of small businesses.
The Democratic move came as negotiators for the House, Senate and White House began bipartisan talks on resolving a months-long impasse over the issue. Many in Washington believe those discussions will ultimately result in a temporary extension for all the current tax rates.
“No, I don’t think [the vote] will undermine [the negotiations], nor is it intended to embarrass or to put Republicans in a difficult place,” Hoyer told reporters at his weekly briefing.
Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), however, said that the bill would be dead on arrival in the Senate.
"Forty-two Republican senators, which is all of us and an indeterminate number, significant number of Democrats, don't think we ought to raise taxes on anybody. So regardless of what the majority forces House Republicans to do, it's not going to go anywhere. We're going to extend the current tax rates, we're not going to raise taxes on anybody. The only thing we're discussing right now is how long that extension will be," the top-ranking GOP Senator said at the press availability following the governors-elect meeting.
Boehner added, "The bipartisan vote tomorrow will be to oppose only providing some tax relief."