WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday she's eager to see Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy ended soon.
But Lawrence Summers, a top economic adviser to President-elect Barack Obama, was less enthusiastic about quick action.
They spoke Sunday on the network talk shows. Pelosi, D-Calif., appeared on "Fox News Sunday," while Summers appeared on CBS' "Face the Nation."
The Bush administration successfully pushed to reduce rates for high-income earners, but those breaks expire at the end of 2010. Obama said during the campaign he wanted to let them expire, but has not said when he would push for ending the cuts.
Pelosi, who presides over a House with the biggest Democratic majority elected in 16 years, wants action before 2011.
"I don't want them to wait two years to expire. Because they have to prove their worth to me as to how they grow the economy, how they create jobs," she said.
Summers, though, deflected the question of when the new administration would want action. He was more eager to discuss the $825 billion economic stimulus plan proposed last week by House Democrats. Committees will begin formally writing the bill later this week.
It includes $550 billion in spending and $275 billion in tax cuts, and no mention is made of the expiring provisions.
"The Bush tax cuts, as you know...are scheduled to expire in two years in any event, just by law," Summers said. "Just what the timing will be is something that's going to be worked out."
He added that repealing the tax cuts is "something that will get worked out in the legislative process."
The administration is well aware that repeal will be highly divisive. Many key Republicans have made it clear they will fight hard to preserve the breaks, and Obama is trying to cool partisan fervor in his opening days, consulting with GOP leaders about the stimulus and winning praise from top Republicans for his efforts.
"Our overall focus is going to be on increasing spending," Summers said. "Beyond that, there's going to be a substantial tax cut for the American people."