By Jay Heflin - 09/30/10 09:00 PM EDT
"I don't think the bill would have to be in existence," he told reporters, adding that "the existence of the bill isn't some great starting line for this debate."
His response stems from Democratic leaders claiming that Republicans are holding legislation hostage that extends tax cuts for the middle-class even though no such bill exists.
White House senior adviser David Axelrod earlier today joined the protracted fight over extending the tax cuts by criticizing Republicans for holding the nonexistent bill hostage.
"They're holding these tax cuts for the middle-class hostage, demanding that we also lift the cap and extend the breaks to millionaires and billionaires," he wrote in an email.
Don Stewart, a staffer for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellDHS chief: 21 states sought help over election hacking concerns 9/11 bill is a global blunder that will weaken US efforts abroad States urged to bolster election security MORE (R-Ky.), took a humorous jab at Axelrod, saying he searched for the bill in question.
"I simply couldn't find the poor hostage," he wrote in an email to reporters. "Golly, but that was a waste of time: As it turns out that the Democrats haven't filed a bill yet."
Extending the tax cuts has become such a political hot potato that Democratic leaders postponed making a decision on the matter until after the election.
Gibbs said it was irresponsible for waiting until the lame-duck to move on the tax cuts, but blamed Republicans for the delay.
"Do I think it's responsible to wait for the lame-duck session to pass middle-class tax cuts? No," he said. "I thought the Republicans were irresponsible and held the middle-class tax cuts hostage."