McConnell blasts Democrats for playing politics with taxes

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellOvernight Healthcare: House loosens pesticide rules to fight Zika | A GOP bill that keeps some of ObamaCare | More proof of pending premium hikes Senate votes to block financial adviser rule Reid defends embattled VA secretary MORE (Ky.) blasted Democrats for playing politics with tax policy before a scheduled meeting with President Obama at the White House.
 
McConnell slammed the latest proposal from Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerOvernight Healthcare: House, Senate on collision course over Zika funding Ryan goes all-in on Puerto Rico Cruz's dad: Trump 'would be worse than Hillary Clinton' MORE (D-N.Y.), who has been tapped to head a new Senate Democratic policy and messaging shop in the 112th Congress.
 

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Schumer has called for colleagues to consider an extension of tax rates only for families earning less than $1 million. Democratic strategists say that setting the threshold at $1 million for extending Bush-era tax cuts could gain more public support than Obama’s plan to raise taxes on families earning over $250,000.
 
“Where did that number come from?” McConnell said of the new proposed threshold. “Well, it turns out this figure has no economic justification whatsoever. Nowhere will you find a study or survey which indicates that raising taxes on small businesses with over $1 million in income will create jobs or help spur the economy.
 
“In fact, the author of this proposal freely admits it isn’t an economic policy proposal at all, but rather one that was designed to provide better political messaging — an astonishing admission,” McConnell said of Schumer.
 
McConnell criticized Democrats for playing political games on the Senate floor after voters gave Republicans six new Senate seats in the midterm elections.
 
“Let’s get something straight. Millions of out-of-work Americans don’t want a message. They want a job,” McConnell said. “Millions of struggling families trying to make ends meet don’t need the Democrat messaging to improve; they need the economy to improve.”
 
Democrats think that raising taxes on millionaires would be an easier public sell than raising taxes on families earning over $250,000 a year.
 
“Our focus is protecting the middle class, and we’ll do things to show the American public that one party is doing everything to help the middle class and the other party is doing everything to help millionaires,” said a senior Democratic aide. 

Schumer dismissed McConnell’s critique as the latest Republican effort to defend the nation’s wealthiest families.
 
“We know that their No. 1 goal is to defend millionaires and billionaires to get a tax break when they’re the only group that has prospered in the last decade,” he told The Hill.
 
McConnell delivered his remarks shortly before he was to ride down Pennsylvania Avenue to meet with Obama to discuss taxes and other areas of possible compromise.
 
Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidOvernight Defense: VA chief 'deeply' regrets Disney remark; Senate fight brews over Gitmo Overnight Healthcare: House loosens pesticide rules to fight Zika | A GOP bill that keeps some of ObamaCare | More proof of pending premium hikes The Trail 2016: Digging up dirt MORE (D-Nev.), Senate Democratic Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinReid: 'Lay off' Sanders criticism Senators tout 4.5B defense spending bill that sticks to budget Lawmakers seek changes in TSA PreCheck program MORE (Ill.) and GOP Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.) were also scheduled to attend.
 
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Democratic Whip James Clyburn (S.C.) and House Republican Leader John BoehnerJohn BoehnerOvernight Finance: GOP makes its case for impeaching IRS chief | Clinton hits Trump over housing crash remarks | Ryan's big Puerto Rico win House GOP changes rules to thwart Dems Ryan secures big win with bipartisan Puerto Rico deal MORE (Ohio) and GOP Whip Eric CantorEric CantorJohn Feehery: GOP: Listen to Reince The Trail 2016: Dems struggle for unity Overnight Regulation: Supreme Court rejects GOP redistricting challenge MORE (Va.) are also scheduled to attend, according to a Senate aide.

McConnell and BoehnerJohn BoehnerOvernight Finance: GOP makes its case for impeaching IRS chief | Clinton hits Trump over housing crash remarks | Ryan's big Puerto Rico win House GOP changes rules to thwart Dems Ryan secures big win with bipartisan Puerto Rico deal MORE took shots at congressional Democrats earlier Tuesday in an op-ed in The Washington Post, saying they hadn’t yet gotten the message that voters oppose “big government policies.”

While saying the two sides could work together, McConnell and Boehner held firm on the Bush tax cuts, indicating they plan to push for a permanent extension of all the cuts — not just those for the middle class.

"We made a pledge to America to cut spending, rein in government and permanently extend the current tax rates so small-business owners won't get hit with a massive tax hike at the end of December," they wrote. "That's what Americans want. And that's the message Republicans will bring to the meeting today. In other words, you'll have a voice at that table." 

This post was updated at 11:36 a.m.