By Bernie Becker - 03/31/11 08:00 PM EDT
Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the House majority leader, called on Senate Democrats to rule out raising taxes on Thursday, calling that a “terrible move in the current economic environment.”
The Hill reported Thursday that Democrats were talking about increasing taxes to help narrow budget deficits and broaden the debate beyond the current focus on non-defense discretionary spending.
In a statement, Cantor said that approach illustrated the Democrats’ desire to “keep spending money to support big-government programs and overreach on the backs of American taxpayers.”
“It’s time for Democrats to do what the American people are doing and tighten the belt, not raise taxes,” he added.
The statement came as policymakers are trying to reach a deal on 2011 spending levels, with the government currently only funded through April 8. On Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Republicans and Democrats have yet to agree on how much more federal spending to cut this fiscal year.
Senate Democrats have indicated that the debate over this year’s spending has advanced too far to start discussing tax revenue.
But when it comes to the 2012 budget, various Senate Democrats have signaled that they are intrigued by the idea of a surtax on millionaires, rolling back the deduction for charitable donations, and ending tax breaks for the oil-and-gas industry, among other ideas.
Cantor was also not the only House GOP leader to go on the offensive Thursday over taxes. Boehner’s office tweeted a link to The Hill story, commenting “Senate Democrats consider proposing job-crushing tax hike” and adding the hashtag "statusquo."