Domestic Taxes

Schumer vows to keep pushing payroll tax break extension until it passes

Democrats in the Senate will push a plan this week to extend an expiring payroll tax cut, making up the lost revenue by imposing a surtax on Americans earning more than one million dollars, said Sen. Charles Schumer on Sunday.

“The first thing we’re going to do when we get back this week is put the payroll tax holiday on the floor in the Senate,” said Schumer (N.Y.), the number three Democrat in the Senate, on NBC’s Meet the Press.

{mosads}Republicans have expressed a willingness to extend the tax cut put in place under President Obama, but want other parts of the budget cut to offset the cost — not a new tax imposed on the people they argue create the most jobs.

But forcing Republicans to vote against lower taxes for middle-class Americans in order to protect the tax rates for wealthier Americans allows Democrats to draw a clear line in the sand that they believe they can use to frame the argument against Republicans in 2012.

“If it doesn’t pass once, we’re going to put it on the floor again and again,” Schumer said.

The tax cut extension is one part of the jobs plan that Obama is now pushing piece-by-piece after Republicans refused to swallow it as one piece of legislation. The White House said last week that average middle-class Americans would see their taxes hiked by $1,000 next year if the cut isn’t extended. Under the expansion of the cut Obama is seeking, those families would pay $1,500 less next year.

Schumer also waxed optimistic on Democratic hopes for 2012 for both the Senate and the White House — but made no mention of the House, where Democrats are hoping to flip 25 seats to regain control.

“I would predict that President Obama is going to win, that’s very likely. And it’s very, very likely we’re going to keep the Senate, because the whole battlegrounds have changed away from just cutting the government and toward helping the middle class,” he said.

On Newt Gingrich, who has soared to the front of the pack in the GOP primary but is under fire from conservatives over his moderate stance on a path to legalization for illegal immigrants, Schumer was surprisingly complimentary about the Republican and former House Speaker.

“He’s clearly a smart guy. I give him credit for not just blowing with the winds on an issue like immigration,” he said. But Schumer added, “Barack Obama would be a much better president.”

Tags Barack Obama Chuck Schumer

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