Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 WATCH: The Hill recaps the top stories of the week Effort to overhaul archaic election law wins new momentum MORE (Ky.) slammed the door Thursday morning on Democratic demands to raise tax rates on families earning more than $250,000 per year.
“We’re insisting on keeping tax rates where they are, first and foremost, to protect jobs and because we don’t think government needs the money in the first place,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.
“The problem, as I’ve said, is that Washington spends too much. But if more revenue is the price that Democrats want to exact, then we should at least agree to do it in a way that doesn’t cost jobs and disincentivize rates, as we all know raising rates would do,” he said.
McConnell’s comments came a day after Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDemocrats eager to fill power vacuum after Pelosi exit Stopping the next insurrection Biden, lawmakers mourn Harry Reid MORE (R-Ohio) shot down a proposal by a senior GOP lawmaker, Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole, to agree to extend tax rates only for families earning below $250,000 and resume the battle against higher tax rates on the wealthy next year.
BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDemocrats eager to fill power vacuum after Pelosi exit Stopping the next insurrection Biden, lawmakers mourn Harry Reid MORE said President Obama and Democrats should focus on finding ways to cut spending and reform entitlement programs.
The fate of the Bush-era tax rates — which will expire for all income levels in January — has dominated the debate over the slew of tax increases and spending cuts that are set to begin next year.
McConnell scolded the president Thursday for sticking fast to his campaign pledge to seek higher taxes on the rich, and made clear that raising tax rates on anyone is unacceptable.
“The longer Democrats keep saying it, the longer it’s going to take to come up with an agreement,” he said. “The only reason Democrats are insisting on raising rates is because raising rates on the so-called rich is the holy grail of liberalism.
“Their aim isn’t job creation, they’re interested in wealth destruction,” he said.
McConnell warned that raising rates would discourage people from working and investing their money. He said dual-income households would be especially affected, as married women thinking about entering the workforce would have a powerful disincentive.
He noted Republicans have proposed capping tax deductions by reforming the tax code and argued that would be a better path because it would broaden the tax base.
McConnell said restructuring tax deductions would “probably have a smaller negative effect or even a positive effect on the amount of labor supply.”