Two top conservatives in Congress will introduce legislation to make expiring tax cuts permanent as other GOP leaders appear resigned to a compromise.
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) will unveil companion bills to make permanent the tax rates currently in place, which are set to spring upward at the end of the year, barring congressional action.
The legislation from the two conservatives, both of whom are seen as possible candidates for president in 2012, comes as top Republicans and members of the Obama administration are acknowledging that a compromise in which all tax rates are extended for a period of several years.
"I'm going to introduce legislation later today with Mike Pence from the House that would make the current rates permanent," DeMint said Tuesday on CBS's "Early Show." "If we do that, then businesses know what their taxes will be well out into the future. We can't keep this uncertainty going in Washington."
DeMint said he didn't know if he could support the short-term extension of tax cuts — maybe two, or three years — that has been discussed as a possible compromise.
"Two years is not enough to plan for the expansion of a plant, so I think the short-term view that politicians have really doesn't work in our economy," he said.
The details on the proposal could come at a press conference later this afternoon. But if DeMint, Pence, and other conservatives insist on a permanent compromise only, it could put them at odds with not only President Obama and Democrats, but some Republicans as well.
“I think it is quite likely you are going to see an agreement on tax policy for individuals," Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said Tuesday at a Wall Street Journal forum. Geithner echoed what President Obama has said in recent days: that a compromise could be acceptable, but a permanent extension of the tax cuts across the board were a non-starter.
Other top Republicans acknowledged as much on Tuesday, when they said that the short-term extension was the most likely outcome in the lame-duck Congress.
"I understand it's not going to be permanent like we would like it. But get it done in the lame-duck. It's better for the entire economy," Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the incoming chairman of the House Budget Committee, said this morning on MSNBC.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), the leader of the House Tea Party Caucus, also threw her support to a short-term extension.
"If we can only get it extended for two years, I think that is great, but I don’t think that the American people should have to pay for that by having to have some new massive spending tied to it," she said on ABC's "Good Morning America."