Camp rejects big business backing for raising tax rates on highest earners

The House's top tax-writer pushed back on the suggestion by the nation's chief executives to let taxes rise for wealthier earners. 

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) said Tuesday he does not support an increase in tax rates for those making $250,000 or more a year, in response to a letter from the Business Roundtable (BRT) to lawmakers.

"Big business may support raising tax rates on small businesses, but I do not," Camp said. 

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"The solution to the fiscal cliff isn't higher tax rates, which economists agree will destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs for middle-class families. 

"Republicans remain committed to finding a balanced solution to the fiscal cliff," he said, "one that involves both savings from substantive entitlement reforms and higher revenues through pro-growth, comprehensive tax reform."

Business leaders pledged to support a compromise that will require Congress to agree to higher revenue, "whether by increasing rates, eliminating deductions or some combination." 

A deal also will mean that the Obama administration must agree to "larger, meaningful structural and benefit entitlement reforms and spending reductions that are a fiscally responsible multiple of increased revenues."

"By initiating these reforms simultaneously, and without undermining the broader reforms both parties believe should be pursued, you can rebuild the trust needed for our political system to function and the confidence needed for businesses to invest in new factories, equipment and employees," they wrote. 

They urged Congress to end current political paralysis and help bolster the economy's recovery. 

"We believe it is primed for strong and sustained expansion," they wrote. "Businesses know how to create jobs and compete in a diverse global market. We are poised and ready to do so if the conditions for growth are set in a comprehensive agreement on the fiscal cliff."

Meanwhile, the Senate's No. 2 Democrat called the letter a positive development.

"This is an idea whose time has come," said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). "The sooner Speaker Boehner realizes this, the sooner we can get all of this resolved."

—Erik Wasson contributed.