Hatch: Tax hikes are bad

"This is why the White House's small business tax hike makes no sense," he said in prepared remarks Sunday. "If the administration raises taxes on the top two rates, then small businesses employing up to 20 million Americans will be hit, further threatening our weak economy and job creation."

Hatch is a part of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee that met last week to discuss the fate of the Bush tax cuts, among other things. 

Democratic leaders in Congress and members of the Obama administration have stressed that breaks benefiting the middle class should be extended, but that tax cuts for the wealthy should expire. The move would give the government much-needed revenue and help reduce the deficit. 

Democratic leaders have also argued extending the tax cuts for the wealthy would do little to stimulate economic growth. Hatch disagreed. 

"If we want to spur economic growth and reduce the deficit, then let's stop these massive job-killing tax hikes," he said. 

More than a handful of Democrats appear to agree with Hatch. Sens. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) have argued recently that allowing the wealthy tax cuts to expire on schedule next year would harm the economy. 

Democrats also don't want these tax breaks to vanish in the run-up to November's election. 

To put them at ease, lawmakers might extend the tax cuts for the wealthy for one year, which would cost at least $40 billion. A budget rule requiring this cost be offset might also be waived. Talks on the issue are very preliminary but are expected to heat up in September, sources told The Hill. 

A small-business carve-out is also being discussed, Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenWyden blasts FEC Republicans for blocking probe into NRA over possible Russia donations Wyden calls for end to political ad targeting on Facebook, Google Ex-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity MORE (D-Ore.) told the New York Times. Like Hatch, Wyden is part of the Finance Committee. 

How this small-business exemption would work is unclear, but its aim would apparently protect smaller companies that pay the top rates from incurring a tax increase next year.