“It’s an opportunity to make permanent the lower tax rates for 99 percent of Americans, so I think the House, as Leader Boehner has said, will pass it today,” said Barrasso, in an interview on CNN’s “Starting Point.”
Barrasso also sought to pressure Senate Democrats to take up the proposal in the upper chamber, warning that failing to do so would make them responsible for January’s looming tax hikes.
“It ought to get a vote in the Senate, an up-or-down vote rather than games being played. It’s too close to the end of the year, Americans at home want to make sure their taxes don’t go up,” he said.
The House is expected to vote Thursday on Boehner’s plan, which would prevent much of the looming “fiscal cliff” tax hikes, but allow rates to rise on those making $1 million or more. But it is unlikely that the Senate will act on the proposal, as the White House on Wednesday threatened a veto.
House GOP leaders have said they are confident the bill will pass, but many rank-and-file members have criticized it for not addressing spending cuts.
Conservative groups Heritage Action and the Club for Growth on Wednesday said they would “key vote” the bill and urged members to reject the proposal.
Supporters of the bill say its real purpose is to help give Boehner more leverage to push for more spending cuts in negotiations with Obama.
But those talks appeared deadlocked again on Wednesday, after Boehner and the White House both accused the other side of not offering serious proposals.
Barrasso on Thursday said he was not concerned by polls suggesting the public will place more blame on Republicans if Washington fails to reach a deficit-reduction package.
“My bigger concern is for the American people. If we go over the cliff, I see an economic disaster,” he warned.