House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) said he doesn't believe Democrats need to raise income taxes on individuals as part of a comprehensive budget proposal, breaking with President Obama and other congressional leaders who have argued for the return of Clinton-era rates for the richest Americans.
"We don't want to raise taxes, and we don't have to raise taxes," Hoyer said on Las Vegas station KSNV’s “Face to Face” program.
"We don't have to raise rates, we have to make sure everyone is paying their fair share."
Hoyer also criticized Obama for not having immediately embraced the Simpson-Bowles economic plan. The bipartisan commission tasked by the president with finding proposals to restore the nation’s fiscal health suggested significant budget cuts and tax increases.
"In retrospect, the president probably should have embraced [Simpson-Bowles] and said, 'I'm for a plan very similar to this,' " Hoyer said.
Hoyer did have kind words for the president's stimulus bill, though, saying that he "think[s] it did work." Republicans have been hammering Democrats, claiming that the stimulus program failed as unemployment continues to hover above the 9 percent mark.
"Well, I'll tell you what, we created 2 million jobs after we passed that stimulus bill," Hoyer said.
The interview was part of a Nevada tour for the Democrats' second-ranking House member, who was in the state to campaign on behalf of special-election candidate Kate Marshall and former congresswoman Dina Titus.