By Mike Lillis - 12/15/15 02:07 PM EST
Hoyer: Dems will 'strongly oppose' tax extenders package
House Democratic leaders are voicing fierce opposition to an enormous tax-break package expected to be unveiled Tuesday.
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the Democratic whip, said the proposal is too big and expensive and is one "we ought to strongly oppose."
"It would undermine the deficit, creating a larger debt. It would undermine tax reform, taking off the table [a number] of the things that would be included in a tax reform bill. … And lastly it would substantially undermine our investments in growing our economy and creating jobs," Hoyer told reporters in the Capitol.
"For all of those reasons, it is bad policy and ought to be rejected," he added. "And I hope it will be rejected by the House and by the Senate."
The remarks echo those of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who has characterized the tax package as "a massive, permanent giveaway … which is really destructive of our future." She warned last week that House Democrats are lining up against the measure.
"I don't see very much support on the Democratic side," she said.
It's unclear, however, if Democratic opposition would be enough to sink the package, in either chamber.
The proposal has a price tag of more than half a trillion dollars, and GOP leaders might lose some Republicans over deficit concerns.
Still, most Republicans support the measure, and there are a number of sweeteners in the package to attract Democrats, as well. Those include permanent extensions of the child tax benefit, the Earned Income Tax Credit and a credit for college tuition, according to a summary of the bill circulated by Senate negotiators.
The tax package has been moving on a separate but parallel track to a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill to fund the federal government through September of next year. The tax proposal includes a host of tax breaks for businesses and individuals alike, making many of them permanent after a series of short-term extensions.
It also includes a two-year delay in a pair of new taxes installed by President Obama's healthcare reform law: a levy on medical devices and another on high-end health insurance plans, known as the "Cadillac tax."
The White House has fought to retain both of those taxes but has also signaled it would not veto the package over a two-year postponement.
Hoyer, meanwhile, is calling on Congress instead to scrap the whole package in favor of a smaller two-year tax measure, which would force lawmakers to revisit the issue again next year.
"That would give us the opportunity to look at — as we ought to — tax reform in a broader light," Hoyer said.
This story was updated at 2:28 p.m.