Pence will vote against tax cut deal

A top Republican said Tuesday he would vote against President Obama's tax deal when it comes to the House floor.

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), the outgoing chairman of the House Republican Conference and a possible candidate for governor or president in 2012, joined the ranks of conservatives who have come out in opposition to the tax-cut plan before Congress.

"At the end of the day, I've just come to the conclusion: the American people did not vote for more stimulus," Pence said on conservative talker Sean Hannity's radio show. "Therefore, I will not vote for this tax deal when it comes to the floor of the House of Representatives."

Pence joins the ranks of conservatives, many of whom have ties to the Tea Party movement, who have opposed the deal. The Indiana Republican echoed their arguments against the bill; Pence said the 13-month extension of unemployment benefits would only bloat the deficit, and that extending the tax rates for only two years wouldn't provide adequate certainty in the markets.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), another opponent of the tax deal, had joined with Pence to float a bill to extend all expiring tax rates permanently. Pence said he would approach the House Rules Committee to inquire about an opportunity to vote on a permanent extension of tax cuts. 

If that doesn't succeed, Pence said he would rather wait for Republicans to take over control of the House on Jan. 5 and address the tax cuts at that point.

Such a move could create political problems for House Republican leaders, who have more or less embraced the tax deal in its current form. Pence said he had the "highest regard" for fellow members of the leadership, and would know better sometime tomorrow where GOP votes in the House would fall on Obama's tax deal.