Tax deal unlikely before election, says GOP Rep. Pete King

Both the House and Senate have approved competing measures on the tax rates. Senate Democrats succeeded in passing an extension of the Bush-era rates for income up to $250,000 a year. House Republicans, meanwhile, approved legislation extending all the rates, including for families with income above $250,000 a year. 

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Unless legislators come to some kind of agreement before the end of the year, the rates will expire for all income levels. 

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the top Democrat on a 2011 panel charged with finding a bipartisan compromise for deficit reduction, recently gave a strongly-worded speech suggesting it would be preferable to have no deal at all on taxes than a deal which spared the wealthy from higher rates.

"If we can’t get a good deal, a balanced deal that calls on the wealthy to pay their fair share, then I will absolutely continue this debate into 2013 rather than lock in a long-term deal this year that throws middle-class families under the bus," Murray said.