House panel gets to work on one-year extension of Bush tax cuts

Republicans are committed to ensuring no taxpayer, whether an individual, family or job creator, is hit with a tax increase, the aide said. 

The plan would prevent the tax increase for all income levels while laying a foundation for passing and enacting comprehensive reform in 2013, they said. 

Passing the extension this summer would clear a major issue from the busy lame-duck agenda and, as Republicans have argued, could provide more certainty for businesses and individuals in the sluggish economic environment. 

House and Senate Republicans floated the one-year extension last week as a counteroffer to the White House, which is insistent that the tax cuts will expire for anyone making at least $250,000 a year, providing a larger revenue stream into the Treasury's coffers. 

House Republicans have previously said they are opposed to paying for the tax cuts, which would tack on a hefty price — hundreds of billions, most likely — to the nation's swelling deficit. 

The Senate could vote on the tax rates as well, although Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) has urged caution, suggesting lawmakers avoid divisive issues ahead of the election.

Baucus said earlier this week that he is working on a tax reform plan that could include fresh revenues to help reduce federal deficits to at least help the nation take a step back from the so-called fiscal cliff. 

Republicans are looking to extend the tax rates across the board through 2013 while some Democrats and the White House have said they want to allow rates to expire for wealthier taxpayers. 

Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has suggested a threshold of $1 million, which puts her in line with Senate Democratic leaders, but in opposition to the White House and other party colleagues. 

A higher level, as suggested by Pelosi, would sacrifice billions in potential revenue to bring down the deficit, many Democrats have argued. 

Some conservative groups have urged Republicans to, instead, push for a permanent extension of the Bush-era cuts.  

"If House Republicans believed in anything, they would vote to make the current tax rates permanent, send that to the Senate and make that the only option to prevent the nation from driving off the fiscal cliff at year's end. And if Harry Reid doesn't want to go along with it, then it's on him," said Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government, a conservative think tank. 

"Give people and businesses certainty in this weak economy, instead of one more year of uncertainty that will not get us out of our doldrums."