Pelosi: GOP is ‘out to get the middle class’

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that Republicans are “out to get the middle class,” as she criticized their proposal for paying for an extension of the payroll-tax cut.

Pelosi used her weekly news conference Thursday to contrast the GOP payroll-tax-cut plan with President Obama’s. The Democratic plan would expand and extend the one-year holiday and pay for it with a tax increase on millionaires. Senate Republicans on Wednesday announced a proposal simply extending the current tax cut and paying for it by freezing federal pay, cutting the federal workforce and trimming certain federal benefits for the wealthy.

The president’s plan, Pelosi said, “has more economic growth than what the Republicans are proposing. It creates more jobs than the Republican proposal.”

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The GOP version, she said, “pays for the payroll-tax cut by eliminating 200,000 jobs.”

“It’s important to note that the Republicans have finally felt the heat of doing something about the payroll-tax cut,” Pelosi said. “They have resisted it for a while and now they see it has to pass. But the constraints that they place on it have a dampening effect.

“I don’t know what the middle class ever did to the Republicans that they’re so out to get them,” the former Speaker added, accusing the Republicans of wanting to pay for a tax cut for the middle class but not for extending tax cuts for the wealthy. “But whether it’s job creation, economic growth, the tax code and the rest — the deck is getting stacked against the middle class.”

Republicans have rejected the Democratic proposal to increase taxes for the wealthy. Pelosi said she is open to other offsets for extending the payroll-tax cut.

“While I point out the inconsistency of the Republicans saying tax cuts for the rich don’t have to be offset but tax cuts for the middle class do, we would be interested in talking about a proposal that offsets that spending, that tax cut for the middle class,” she said. “I don’t think it’s fair, but we need to have the tax cut for the middle class. But that would not include firing 200,000 people.”

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