Cantor presses Obama to extend Bush-era tax rates across-the-board

House Republican Leader Eric Cantor (Va.), on Saturday, pressed President Obama to back a one-year across-the board extension of all Bush-era tax rates, claiming Democratic efforts to raise taxes on wealthier Americans would hit small businesses and cost jobs.

In the GOP’s weekly address, Cantor said the competing Republican and Democratic proposals over the Bush-era rates, which are set to expire at year’s end, was a “collision of two very different plans for economic growth.”

“House Republicans, joined by 19 Democrats, passed a bill to stop the looming tax hike that will hit all Americans next year.  On the other side of the Capitol, in the Senate, a Democrat-only plan to hike taxes passed.  The President sided with Harry Reid and the Democrats, insisting that their plan to raise taxes was the answer for economic growth,” said the No. 2 ranking House Republican.

Both the House and Senate have approved competing measures on the tax rates. Senate Democrats passed an extension of the lower Bush-era rates for those making up to $250,000-a-year, saying wealthier taxpayers need to pay their “fair share.” House Republicans, however, approved legislation extending all the rates, across-the-board.

Cantor seized on the July unemployment number that ticked up to 8.3 percent, to underscore the GOP argument for a full extension of the Bush-era tax rates. The Majority Leader cited a recent study by accounting firm Ernst & Young, that concluded 700,00 jobs would be lost if the tax rates were not extended for all.  

Cantor noted President Obama’s own contention that raising taxes on small businesses was not a great idea.  

““You know, it’s odd that less than two years ago President Obama actually agreed with House Republicans that a tax increase on our small businessmen and women would hurt our economy. This raises the question: does President Obama now believe our economy is doing so well that we can afford to raise taxes on small businesses?,” Cantor said. 

“I am hopeful that with the passage of a bipartisan bill to stop the tax hike in the House and with unemployment still above 8 percent that President Obama will return to the position that he embraced less than two years ago and agree that now is NOT the time to be raising taxes on small business job-creators and the hardworking taxpayers of this country,” he added.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers in both parties hope to avoid the “fiscal cliff” of impending tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect in 2013 and have warned that the “uncertainty” over congressional action could hamper the economy’s recovery, but have failed to find a path forward.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) this week took aim at House Republicans for opposing the partial tax rate extension.

“The last thing the American people need right now is more uncertainty, more unfairness, and higher taxes on working families and small businesses.  Yet House Republicans continue to stand as the lone roadblock to a middle class tax cut – preferring to hold tax relief for 100 percent of Americans hostage to extra tax breaks for the top 2 percent,” Pelosi said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Pelosi also cited the July data, touting the 163,000 jobs created in the month. “Last month, 163,000 jobs were created despite Republicans' refusal to work with President Obama and Democrats to create jobs, grow our economy, and ensure the economic security of our middle class,” Pelosi stated.