Ways and Means chairman says Senate will act first on Bush tax cuts

The comment comes on the heels of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) indicating that leaders of the tax-writing committees would take the lead in deciding which chamber acts first in extending the tax cuts. 

"I know the Ways and Means Committee is discussing it with the Senate Finance Committee as to how we are going to proceed," he told reporters earlier on Wednesday. "And I'm going to wait for those discussions before I get very deeply involved in that discussion on the process of who's going to consider what when." 

Ways and Means members told The Hill that the committee will begin discussing the tax cuts next week. Sources say a tax hike aimed at millionaires is very much in play if the committees take control of the issue. 

Ways and Means members are also expected to meet later this afternoon to discuss its upcoming agenda. The Bush tax cuts are expected to be one of several topics raised at the meeting. 

Levin also indicated that his committee would not host a hearing on the Bush tax cuts. 

"I think there's been immense debate about this issue — immense debate," he said. "And I think Mr. Boehner's comment on Sunday intensified the debate." 

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) over the weekend said he would be open to voting on extending only the middle-class Bush tax cuts. The position counters other Republican leaders, who have called for all of the tax cuts to be extended.