Thirty-one Democrats urge extension of all Bush tax cuts

The letter strikes at the heart of the argument posed by Democratic leaders that the country can ill-afford to extend tax cuts for the wealthy. 

It suggests using excess revenue on the "pay-go scorecard," which shows that Congress has a surplus in terms of paying for legislation that it has passed this year.

"All tax cuts can be extended without violating statutory paygo," the letter states. "Paying for a short-term extension of the high-income brackets is possible without accruing new debt by using existing surplus funds identified on the paygo scorecard." 

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A one-year extension of tax cuts for the wealthy is expected to cost roughly $40 billion. The scorecard has approximately $100 billion on it, which would be cover the cost of the extension.

Under pay-go rules, extending the middle-class tax cuts do not have to be offset. 

The 31 House Democrats that signed the letter are:

Reps. Jim MathesonJames (Jim) David MathesonMcAdams concedes to Owens in competitive Utah district Trump EPA eases standards for coal ash disposal Utah redistricting reform measure likely to qualify for ballot MORE (Utah), Melissa Bean (Ill.), Glenn Nye (Va.), Mike McMahon (N.Y.), John BarrowJohn Jenkins BarrowFormer lawmakers sign brief countering Trump's claims of executive privilege in Jan. 6 investigation Draft Georgia congressional lines target McBath, shore up Bourdeaux On The Trail: The political losers of 2020 MORE (Ga.), Lincoln Davis (Tenn.), Dan Boren (Oka.), Brad Ellsworth (Ind.), John Salazar (Col.), Mike Ross (Ark), Rick Boucher (Va.), Harry Mitchell (Ariz.), Jim Costa (Calif.), Sanford Bishop (Ga.), Ron Klein (Fla.), Zack Space (Ohio), Jim Marshall (Ga.), Ann KirkpatrickAnn KirkpatrickDemocrats brace for flood of retirements after Virginia rout Two House Democrats to retire ahead of challenging midterms Two senior House Democrats to retire MORE (Ariz.), Mike McIntyre (N.C.), Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (S.D.), Earl Pomeroy (N.D.), Jim Cooper (Tenn.), Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyBiden to have audience with pope, attend G20 summit Biden taps former Indiana Sen. Donnelly as ambassador to Vatican Republicans may regret restricting reproductive rights MORE (Ind.), Gary Peters (Mich.), Jim Himes (Conn.), Frank Kratovil (Md.), Walt Minnick (Idaho), Allen Boyd (Fla.), Harry Teague (N.M.), Travis Childers (Miss.), and Jason Altmire (Pa.).

Senate Democrats did not sign the letter, but more than a handful of them have also called for the extension of all Bush tax cuts. 

They include Sens. Evan Bayh (Ind.), Jim Webb (Va.), Ben Nelson (Neb.) and independent Joe Lieberman (Conn.), who caucuses with Democrats.