McConnell: Obama playing politics with plan to raise taxes

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday morning said President Obamas plan to raise taxes to pay for a $447 billion jobs bill had no chance of passing the Senate.

He called Obamas jobs package — announced last week to a joint session of Congress — a political exercise, describing it as “disappointing.”

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McConnell’s forceful criticisms of the plan signal Obama will have a difficult time passing any of his proposal through Congress.

There is also brewing Republican opposition to an extension of the payroll tax holiday, which GOP lawmakers have viewed skeptically as a temporary fix.

McConnell said Republicans would reject Obama’s call to pay for the plan with higher taxes on businesses and the wealthy.

“The specifics we got yesterday only reinforce the impression that this was largely a political exercise,” McConnell said of the revenue-raising measures recommended by the White House.


“They undermine the president’s claim that it’s a bipartisan proposal — because much of what he’s proposing has already been rejected on a bipartisan basis,” McConnell said. “The half-trillion-dollar tax hike the White House proposed [Monday] will not only face a tough road in Congress among Republicans, but from Democrats too.”

White House budget director Jack Lew said Monday that $400 billion for the jobs plan would come from capping the itemized donations claimed by individuals earning more than $200,000 a year and families earning more than $250,000.

McConnell said that would not survive a Republican-led filibuster in the Senate.

“The central tax hike included in this bill, capping deductions for individuals and small businesses, was already dismissed by a filibuster-proof, Democrat-controlled Senate in 2009,” McConnell said.

He signaled that Republicans would also oppose plans to raise revenue by raising the tax rates on hedge fund managers and the oil-and-gas industry.

“Another idea floated by the White House [Monday], a tax on investment income, has been vehemently opposed by the number three Democrat in the Senate, among others,” McConnell said in reference to Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), vice chairman of the Senate Democratic Conference.

“And a proposal to raise taxes on the oil-and-gas industry was rejected as the job-destroying tax hike that it is by Democrats and Republicans just a few months ago. And for good reason, since the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service tells us it wouldn’t only raise gas prices, but would also move jobs overseas.”

A Senate Democratic aide said McConnell mischaracterized Schumer’s position on taxing the profits money managers earn from clients’ portfolios.

“McConnell is mistaken,’ said the aide.

The aide said Schumer has supported the so-called carried interest provision since 2007, even if the tax is applied only to hedge funds.

This story was updated at 12:31 p.m.