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Obama Solidifies GOP’s Tax Doubts

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor think the gulf was too wide between the parties to negotiate a tax reform deal.

“There’s no way you can get it done” in the super committee, Kies said.

In his speech last week, Boehner conceded, “It’s probably not realistic to think the joint committee could rewrite the tax code by Nov. 23.”

But he said the panel can “lay the groundwork” for tax reform.

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said the panel “could agree on a framework — rules that would guide the process — that would pass the House and Senate as part of their deficit reduction package.”

When asked whether the panel had time for tax reform, Hensarling said last week: “I hope so. I don’t know so. Particularly, I would hope we could get some mindshare and consensus around business tax reform that I believe could be pro-growth and add revenues.”

And just after blasting Obama’s Monday speech, Hensarling professed “hope” that Obama would support tax reform spearheaded by the panel.

Obama on Monday called for a “balanced” approach to deficit reduction and vowed to veto legislation that changed entitlement programs without raising additional revenue.

“I will not support any plan that puts all the burden for closing our deficit on ordinary Americans. And I will veto any bill that changes benefits for those who rely on Medicare but does not raise serious revenues by asking the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations to pay their fair share,” Obama said.

Perhaps the most divisive proposal from Obama is what he is dubbing the “Buffett Rule,” a reference to billionaire Warren Buffett, who has argued that the tax code should be changed to alter discrepancies in rates among the brackets.

The tax would act as a kind of alternative minimum tax for households making more than $1 million a year to pay the same tax rates that the middle brackets do.

Regardless of whether that becomes law, it could put the GOP in a bind, Democrats say, since polling shows support for increasing taxes on wealthy individuals as part of a deficit reduction plan.

“Republicans have put themselves in an untenable position of defending tax breaks for the wealthy from now until the end of the year,” a Democratic political operative said.

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