Hoyer: Tax debate could slip until lame-duck Congress

Hoyer noted, though, that "it's also possible that we won't reach agreement on how to proceed" on the tax cuts, leaving the possibly politically bruising debate until the lame-duck Congress between the elections and when a new Congress is sworn in next January.

Democratic leaders and President Obama have pushed for extending the bulk of the tax cuts, but have said they would like to see taxes spring upward for individuals making more than $200,000 per year, and households earning more than $250,000 in a year.

Hoyer said that there was a "general consensus" among congressional Democrats on letting the high-end taxes appreciate, and said that the House didn't necessarily feel as though it had to wait to see how the Senate would proceed before acting on its own.

Republicans have made the taxes a major part of their election message, arguing that the increased taxes would disproportionately harm small-business owners who treat their company's income as their own. The pressure from the GOP on taxes could make for an even tougher time for vulnerable incumbent Democrats, who might not wish to be seen as raising any taxes in the middle of a recession.

--Cross-posted from Blog Briefing Room.