Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced legislation Monday that would permanently extend the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts.
The Kentucky Republican’s decision to introduce the bill is unusual — McConnell has largely avoided presenting official Republican alternatives to Democratic proposals — and comes as his party seeks to maintain its unified opposition to allowing some of the tax breaks to lapse Jan. 1. The White House only wants to extend tax cuts for up to $200,000 of income for individuals.
In a floor speech Monday, McConnell said Democrats passed “one sweeping, government-driven scheme after another, then asked taxpayers to put it on their tab.” He called the White House’s plan to allow the tax cuts to lapse for the wealthiest Americans “the second half of the story, the final piece of their agenda — the part where they point to all that spending and demand payment for it.”
McConnell argued, “Republicans are offering a choice: more of the same or the new direction Americans are asking for.”
His effort comes as united Republican support for a full extension appears to be showing its first cracks. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) indicated Sunday that he would support a bill that only extends tax cuts for the middle class if Democrats refuse to move a larger bill, a pronouncement that prompted a number of his colleagues to distance themselves from Boehner.