Pence says Republican majority would move first to extend Bush tax cuts

House Republicans’ first move in the majority would be to extend tax cuts set to expire at the end of the year, House GOP Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.) suggested Wednesday evening. 

Pence, the third-ranking Republican in the House, said that House Republicans would look to extend the tax cuts they helped President George W. Bush pass in 2001 and 2003, which are set to expire at the end of the year.

“Well, we’re going to stay focused on Election Day. But I think before that, we’re going to continue to demand that this administration and this Congress make it clear that no American will see a tax increase in January of next year,” Pence said during an appearance on CNBC.

“So the first thing that we will do is try to preserve the tax relief of 2001 and 2003 for all Americans — for all small businesses and family farmers. But we also want to look at the kind of across-the-board tax relief, the kind of tax relief that will encourage capital formation, to get this economy moving again,” the Indiana Republican and potential presidential candidate added.

Pence’s assertion adds to the litany of pledges the GOP has made to voters as the fall’s midterm elections approach. Republicans have made taxes a key part of their electoral assault against Democrats, who largely (led by President Obama) favor extending the tax cuts except for the wealthiest earners.

Republicans have also made healthcare reform a target of their ire, pledging to make repealing the reform bill signed into law by Obama earlier this year a central part of their agenda, should they win back control of the House in November’s elections.

In fact, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said earlier this year that repealing healthcare reform would be the GOP’s “No. 1 priority” if they win back the House.

Perhaps making the GOP’s top priorities more clear will be the election document Republican leaders hope to roll out this fall, a document in the vein of 1994’s “Contract With America.” Boehner has suggested that Republicans would reveal that document shortly after lawmakers return from their prolonged recess in mid-September.

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