President Barack Obama would veto Speaker John A. Boehner’s “plan B” proposal to extend tax rates for income up to $1 million a year, the White House warned Wednesday.
“The American people have been clear that they will not accept an economic approach that places too big of a burden on the middle class, seniors, students and the most vulnerable Americans while asking too little of the wealthiest Americans,” White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said in a statement.
“This approach does not meet the test of balance, and the president would veto the legislation in the unlikely event of its passage,” he said.
Pfeiffer said the plan would give additional tax breaks to millionaires — despite its claim of only protecting people making less than $1 million — while allowing tax hikes on the middle class because tax breaks beyond the basic tax rates would be allowed to expire.
The White House said millionaires would see, on average, “a tax break of $50,000” while tax cuts would expire for “25 million students and families struggling to make ends meet” and for businesses that benefit from incentives in the tax code, Pfeiffer said.
Pfeiffer also slammed the proposal for failing to extend unemployment benefits for 2 million Americans.
Pfeiffer said the deficit reduction in Boehner’s approach is minimal.
The president is urging Republican leaders to work on a deal rather than “engaging in political exercises that increase the possibility that taxes go up on every American.”
However, taxes are likely to go up on every American worker regardless; the White House has already dropped its request to extend the 2-percent payroll tax cut, and the House “plan B” would not extend it either.
Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck reacted to the veto threat.
“The White House’s opposition to a back-up plan to ensure taxes don’t rise on American families is growing more bizarre and irrational by the day,” Buck said.
“Republicans have always said a broader, ‘balanced’ plan is the ideal solution, and we have put one forward,” he added. “In the absence of a ‘balanced’ solution from the President, however, we must act to stop taxes from rising across the board in 12 days. If Democrats disapprove of this bill, then there is a simple solution: amend it in the Senate and send it back to the House.“
The White House prefers the Senate’s backup plan already sitting in the House. That bill, passed over the summer, would ensure that tax rates do not go up on those making $250,000 or less.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.