WASHINGTON — A group of 31 Democratic members of the House of Representative this week sent a letter their leaders this week bucking the Obama administration's call to raise taxes on the nation's wealthiest citizens and instead are pushing for broader, across-the-board tax cuts at every income level.
Most of the 31 face tough re-election battles.
"While those in the highest income brackets comprise only two to three percent of American taxpayers, economists estimate that they are responsible for 25 percent of national consumer spending," the Democratic lawmakers wrote in a letter sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. "As 70 percent of our economy is driven by consumer spending, this is not the time to jeopardize further growth. It is also estimated that up to one-third of high income tax payers are small business owners, our nation's job creators and the backbone of our economic recovery."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced a proposal this week to make the George W. Bush-era tax cuts permanent. President Barack Obama has proposed extending the cuts only for households earning less than $250,000.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that a plan similar to the one McConnell is proposing would require the U.S. to borrow an additional $3.9 trillion over the next decade.
"We have a spending problem. We spend too much. We don't have a taxing problem. We don't tax too little," McConnell told reporters Tuesday. "And if we want to begin to get ourselves out of this economic trough that we're in, the only way to do that is to grow the private sector."
Extending the tax cuts has proven a hot button issue this election season as Republicans seize on voter frustration over the economy and high federal deficits, while Democrats in GOP-leaning districts scramble to buffer themselves against public backlash.