Leading Democrats and Republicans continued to square off over taxes on Sunday, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell calling on the White House to extend all of the Bush era tax cuts and Obama campaign advisor Robert Gibbs reiterating that the president would veto any bill that didn't raise rates on the rich.
Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union, McConnell said allowing the rates to rise January 1 would bring the economy's tepid recovery to a complete halt. The wiser course, McConnell argued, would be to extend all of the tax cuts for one more year to allow negotiators from both parties to reach a lasting deal.
Minutes later, on the same show, Gibbs rejected that call out of hand, reiterating that the Obama administration would veto any bill extending all of the Bush era tax cuts, even though their expiration would raise taxes on the middle classes as well as the wealthy.
"He is 100 percent committed to it," Gibbs said.
The comments reiterated the game of political chicken surrounding what many economists have dubbed "tax-mageddon," the moment on New Year's Day where tax rates will abruptly increase for virtually all Americans.
Neither party doubts that such increases would be devastating to the economy, but Democrats and Republicans are sharply divided over how to avert them. Sunday's comments drive home just how hard it will be to reach a deal.
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