The Hill reports:
Republican senators trying to hash out a bipartisan deal to reduce the deficit will refuse any significant tax hikes, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said Thursday.
Coburn, one of six senators involved in behind-the-scenes talks considered crucial if there is to be a deal, said that while it was possible that some voters could see their tax burdens rise, the “Gang of Six” talks would not result in a significant tax hike.
“There’s no plan to have a significant tax hike on anyone,” Coburn said on conservative talker Laura Ingraham’s radio show. “I don’t think there’s any of the three of us who will embrace tax hikes.”
Coburn’s comments suggest the senators are unlikely to agree to end the Bush tax rates for families with annual income above $250,0000, a priority for the White House.
President Obama wants a long-term deal to reduce the deficit to do away with tax rates for the wealthy put in place by former President George W. Bush. After agreeing to extend those tax rates in December, Obama said he would refuse to renew them again.
“We cannot afford $1 trillion worth of tax cuts for every millionaire and billionaire in our society,” Obama said in a speech last week laying out his vision for cutting the deficit.
The extension of all of the Bush rates in December is a major driver of the deficit, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Polls suggest voter support for raising taxes on the wealthy, but Republicans are under heavy pressure from conservatives to include no tax increases as part of a deficit-cutting deal.