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House GOP Seeks Tax Extenders Input

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call

President Barack Obama and the GOP struck a deal at the end of 2010 to extend the tax cuts through 2012, including for high-income earners, but the president has expressed a desire to eliminate tax cuts for the upper income brackets.

Republicans want to extend the tax cuts for all income rates.

Schock said that the vote could help provide certainty to businesses and that he was hopeful the Senate would pick up the bill and it would be signed into law.

A Republican aide suggested the vote could be a political boon for the GOP.  

“If we’re smart, we’ll hold a vote on the Bush tax cuts before the election but do it in such a way so it’s not a free vote for vulnerable Dems,” a senior GOP aide said.

Ken Kies, a managing director of the Federal Policy Group and former chief of staff at the Joint Committee on Taxation, said Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke provided a major boost to Republicans pushing to extend the Bush tax rates.

On Feb. 29, Bernanke told the House Financial Services Committee that the scheduled expiration of the Bush tax cuts and payroll tax holiday at the end of this year was a “massive fiscal cliff” that could significantly harm the economy.

“Republicans should be delirious,” Kies said. “You can just see the debate on the House floor.”

But Democrats could use their motion to recommit on an extension to make a difficult vote for the GOP, Kies said. And if Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) continues his push for regular order, allowing the bill to be marked up in the Ways and Means Committee, the hearings there could be contentious.

Obama and Congressional Democrats found political gold in the standoff over extending the payroll tax cut in December, but the president has not found a follow-up issue that has as much resonance, and taxes are often a high-profile issue in election years.

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